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Charges filed against ex-TCU student accused of forcing pledges to take 15 vodka drinks

Authorities have filed two hazing charges against a former TCU student accused of forcing pledges to take at least 15 drinks of vodka.
Authorities have filed two hazing charges against a former TCU student accused of forcing pledges to take at least 15 drinks of vodka.

Two hazing charges have been filed against a former Texas Christian University student who is accused of forcing pledges to take 15 drinks of vodka and eat expired guacamole, according to Tarrant County court records.

Christopher Thorne Barksdale of Memphis, Tenn. and an ex-member of Kappa Sigma was charged last month with hazing and hazing causing serious bodily injury. He was arrested in September after paramedics and TCU police were alerted that a freshman student had blacked out after drinking alcohol, according to an arrest warrant.

In the same case, fellow TCU classmate Andrew Peter Walker, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon also was arrested in September and faced similar hazing charges but he died by suicide on Oct. 25 when he jumped from the fourth floor of a parking garage on the university campus, police said.

Barksdale was free Wednesday on $2,000 bail.

Barksdale or his attorney Regan Wynn of Fort Worth could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

If convicted, Barksdale, 19, faces a maximum of a year in jail on the Class A misdemeanor charge of hazing causing serious bodily injury. The hazing charge is a Class B misdemeanor and the maximum with conviction is 180 days in jail.

In September, Barksdale lived at the TCU Kappa Sigma chapter house, according to an arrest warrant. He is no longer a student, according to TCU officials.

Initially, Kappa Sigma was suspended on campus, TCU officials said.

“The fraternity has been returned to limited operations while they complete an educational development plan,” said Holly Ellman, a spokeswoman for TCU in an email.

Barksdale is accused of forcing pledges to take 10 to 15 drinks of vodka and eat expired guacamole during a hazing incident at TCU, according to the arrest warrant.

Christopher Barksdale.jpg
Christopher Barksdale, 19, of Memphis,Tenn. Courtesy: Tarrant County Jail

One pledge ultimately blacked out, while the second was left intoxicated in his dorm room, according to the warrant.

The pledges were ordered to the Kappa Sigma fraternity house on Sept. 3 and told to bring a “handle” of Tito’s vodka. A “handle” refers to a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka. The order was sent by a text message from a cell phone owned by Barksdale.

The pledges arrived shortly after 4 p.m. on Sept. 3 with a bottle of vodka.

The freshmen were introduced to Walker and a sorority member, and directed to Barksdale’s room on the second floor

Barksdale called one pledge into a bathroom, handed him a beer and told him to drink the beer as fast as possible.

After that, Barksdale emptied a bottle of decorative sprinkles, and the pledges were ordered to sort them. If they failed to complete the task in a timely manner, they were forced to drink vodka. Barksdale and Walker yelled at the pledges as they tried to sort the sprinkles and ordered them to drink vodka.

The pledges were ordered to drink from the bottle of vodka between 10 to 15 times. Walker and Barksdale made them drink as long as they were counting, according to the warrant.

Both pledges were forced to eat expired guacamole.

One pledge was later found unconscious in Barksdale’s room and another Kappa Sigma member believed that pledge had died. Members called an ambulance and the pledge was taken to a hospital. The second pledge was walked to his room and left intoxicated.

The September incident was at least the third reported hazing incident at the university since 2016. In December 2017, the Delta Tau Delta fraternity chapter at TCU was suspended for hazing, according to the fraternity’s national office.

In 2016, the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity at TCU was shut down after reports of drug dealing and possession of guns surfaced.

Blake Novacek, son of Jay Novacek, alleges that he suffered a traumatic brain injury during pledging activities with the Beta Theta Pi social club in 2015.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763,@mingoramirezjr
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