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    Police seek charges in apparent fraternity hazing at BU

    BU says students could be expelled

    Neighbors stood by the house on Ashford Street in Allston where five men were found bound in the cellar. Police were responding to a noise complaint at the time.
    David L Ryan/Globe Staff
    Neighbors stood by the house on Ashford Street in Allston where five men were found bound in the cellar. Police were responding to a noise complaint at the time.

    Police sought criminal complaints Tuesday against 14 suspects accused of beating and binding five Boston University students and then covering them in hot sauce and honey as part of a fraternity hazing scheme.

    Investigators are seeking to charge the suspects - most, if not all, of whom are BU students - with hazing, assault and battery, and failure to report hazing.

    The complaints were the latest in a series of recent scandals at the school, including two high-profile accusations of sexual assault.


    “If these allegations are true, I think those students should expect they will not be students at BU,’’ said Kenneth Elmore, BU’s dean of students.

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    Mayor Thomas M. Menino called on the university to forward its findings to the city. “We’re not going to condone issues like this,’’ he said.

    Early Monday morning, police responded to a noise complaint in what could have been another loud, late-night house party, on an Allston street notorious for them.

    Instead, police found a circle of students shivering in the cellar, bound, in their underwear and doused in honey, hot sauce, chili sauce, and coffee grounds.

    “All five were shivering and had horrified and fearful looks on their faces,’’ police officers wrote in a report.


    When an officer asked the students if they were OK, one shook his head no as tears fell down his face.

    When the condiments were washed off, police could see that welts covered their backs.

    Students who live at the Ashford Street house are members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, which is not affiliated with the university.

    In response to the accusations, the national fraternity suspended the BU chapter and its 30 members yesterday.

    “We have a very strong and clear policy against hazing,’’ said Jon Pierce, a spokesman for the Jewish fraternity, founded in 1913. “Based on what we’re aware of, they clearly did not follow our rules and regulations.’’


    BU broke off its association with the fraternity in 1993 because of underage drinking at a function, Elmore said.

    “We have no jurisdiction over their behavior as a group,’’ he said.

    Two of the students were also involved in a suspected hazing earlier this year in which underage sorority members were coerced into excessive drinking.

    Police are seeking to charge three suspects with keeping a disorderly house.

    The owners of the property have reported ongoing problems with the tenants, including vandalism, and will move to evict them, police said.

    The suspects, who are not named publicly until a clerk magistrate issues a complaint, are due in court May 7. The clerk magistrate will determine whether there is probable cause to justify the charges.

    Jake Wark, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said the charges are troubling. Hazing charges, he said, are relatively uncommon, though the practice may often go unreported.

    The charges are the latest controversy at the university. In February, a member of the hockey team was charged with rape, the second time in 10 weeks a player had been accused of sexual assault.

    Earlier this month, the student newspaper came under criticism for an April Fools’ edition that made light of sexual assault, raising questions about the school’s culture.

    In early March, BU police stopped three male students carrying women down an Allston street. They called an ambulance for the women, at least one of whom was heavily intoxicated. The school temporarily suspended the sorority while it investigated.

    University officials said they have repeatedly stressed to students that hazing is unacceptable.

    “I’ve got to think they got the word how serious we are about this,’’ Elmore said. “It’s troubling and very disappointing.’’

    On Ashford Street, neighbors said the students were notorious for loud, late-night parties that often spilled out into the street and left the area littered with beer cups and broken bottles.

    “Four a.m., and we can still hear music,’’ said Juan Valdez, a freshman at Berklee College.

    T.J. Freda, a BU student who lives in the neighborhood, said he was stunned by the apparent extent of the hazing.

    “I don’t know what to think,’’ he said. “I thought that kind of thing was only done back in the old days.’’

    When police rang the doorbell at the house around 12:20 a.m. Monday, an individual came to the door, but then turned away when he saw it was the police.

    He went to the back of the house, police said, saying, “The cops are here.’’

    Police went to the back door, where they heard people running up the stairs from the basement, then saw the students they left behind.

    Several suspects tried to flee out the front door, but were stopped. They denied knowing why the people were in the basement.

    Other people in the apartment tried to hide or pretend they were asleep, police said.

    The victims all declined medical treatment.

    Police also found a keg of beer, cups with beer and sardines in them, and a metal beer funnel.

    The large shingled house has a new fence and appears to have been remodeled.

    Three “No Trespassing’’ signs are prominently displayed out front.

    Sarah Smith, a 26-year-old who lives two doors down, said the fence was built after an “obnoxiously loud party’’ in the fall.

    “The house is absolutely beautiful,’’ she said. “It’s a shame they rented to such . . . people.’’

    Peter Schworm can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globepete. Globe correspondent Johanna Kaiser contributed to this report.