A suspended University of Texas fraternity hazed recruits and hired performers for live sex shows, according to a lawsuit filed by the fraternity's national organization that seeks to recover more than $200,000 in money and property from its former local chapter.
The Texas Kappa Alpha fraternity was suspended for two years by the national organization in June, but has continued to represent itself as being affiliated with the national Kappa Alpha Order, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 21.
A spokesman for the suspended chapter on Tuesday denied the hazing accusation, but acknowledged the fraternity hosted a female adult entertainer and her partner on at least one occasion.
Hazing in Texas is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and up to two years in jail.
The lawsuit provided no details on the hazing and sex show allegations but Jim Ewbank, an Austin attorney representing the Lexington, Va.-based national fraternity, said the hazing included pushing and shoving pledges and forcing them to do calisthenics on multiple occasions.
Ewbank said the hazing did not cause any serious injuries, but the organization reported its findings to the university to determine if criminal charges should be pursued.
"This lawsuit is about getting property back. The press likes to pick up on the salacious stuff, like hazing and sex acts," Ewbank said.
University of Texas Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said the university has suspended the fraternity as a student organization.
The university "will not tolerate hazing of any sort in our student organizations. We are investigating and reserve the right to take action based on our findings," Reagins-Lilly said.
Assets the national group is trying to recover include dues collected, furnishings and appliances in the fraternity house and other personal property.
The suspended chapter is now calling itself Texas Omicron.
Robby Alden, an Austin attorney who is on the board of directors for Texas Omicron, denied the hazing allegations and that Texas Omicron is posing as a Kappa Alpha-affiliated group.
The national group never presented the local chapter with evidence of pushing and shoving, Alden said. The forced calisthenics was a threat to make pledges do push-ups, but it wasn't carried out, Alden said.
"Is that hazing? As far as I'm concerned, it was a non-issue. Compared to the hazing at a lot of other fraternities, it was nothing," Alden said.
Alden said alumni of the local chapter confronted the current members about the sex show and they apologized and promised it wouldn't happen again.
The local chapter will resist attempts to seize its assets, Alden said.
"We sent them their charter back. They come back and say they want everything, even utensils, nothing of which they paid for," Alden said.
Kappa Alpha has had a Texas chapter for 128 years and has more than 2,300 alumni, according to the national organization.
The national group said it will eventually try to re-establish a formal chapter at Texas.
"These actions run absolutely contrary to Kappa Alpha law, policies and most importantly our values of gentlemanly conduct," the national organization said in a statement.