Hazing charges dismissed against LSU ‘Tiger Girls’ members
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Five members of the LSU Tiger Girls dance team were issued misdemeanor summons for hazing in early 2019, the 9News Investigators have learned.
Charges against all five young women were ultimately dismissed after each of them successfully completed an anti-hazing course ordered by East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore.
One of the alleged hazing victims told police she was blindfolded and “forced to drink [alcohol] until she threw up and blacked out,” according to an LSU police report.
The incident happened in July of 2018, but LSU was not made aware of it until receiving an anonymous tip in December, Moore said Thursday, July 18, 2019.
Moore says the incident occurred during an event known as “Sis Night”, in which new members of the Tiger Girls team were paired with an older member of the team who would be their “big sis” going forward. During the event, several of the new members say they were blindfolded and given shots of Fireball whisky and other alcohol, investigators said. At one point during the incident, Moore says, “four or five” young men who are “Mike the Tiger” mascots were also present. The men, referred to as the “cheer boys” in the LSU police report, regularly take turns dressing as the LSU mascot at sporting and other events. Moore says the alleged hazing victims were unable to positively identify the males involved since the females were already blindfolded when the males arrived.
LSU Police investigated the incident and issued the hazing summons to the five female team members Jan. 24, records show. Moore says, with the full cooperation of LSU, his office then conducted an exhaustive investigation into the case, including bringing in multiple members of the team for questioning. After the investigation was concluded, Moore decided that ordering the anti-hazing courses was the best solution.
“It was the most fair way to handle it,” Moore said Thursday. WAFB is not naming the females who received the hazing summons because the charges were later dismissed.
Moore says he’s scheduled to meet with the Tiger Girls team and their coaches before the start of the next semester to explain hazing laws and the related penalties. Part of his presentation, Moore says, will include the stiffer hazing penalties now in effect because of the Max Gruver Act. The act, which increases the penalties for hazing and makes cases easier to prosecute, is named after LSU student, Max Gruver, who was killed during an alcohol-related hazing incident on campus. The Tiger Girls incident happened six days prior to the Gruver Act taking effect, Moore says.
LSU has already agreed, Moore says, to ban alcohol at any future Tiger Girls “Sis Night” events. LSU said Thursday, if the “Sis Night” event continues in the future, it will be more of a team building activity with coaches and staff present. Moore said Thursday his office currently has “active” investigations underway involving five other separate alleged hazing incidents at LSU.
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