COLLEGE PARK, Md., March 3 (UPI) -- Seven University of Maryland sorority sisters were charged with assaulting and hazing a pledge during initiation, police said.
The student alleged she was assaulted by current or former members of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority off campus at least three times in October, charging documents stated.
The alleged assaults included pushing her into a wall and repeatedly striking her with an oak paddle, the documents stated. The student's arms and chest were severely bruised, College Park police said.
Most of the charged sorority sisters, whose ages range from 22 to 26, were to appear in court Thursday, The Washington Post reported.
The university indefinitely suspended the sorority in November for "failure to comply with 'membership intake' guidelines," Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Matt Supple said in a statement.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. also suspended the chapter's activities "pending an internal investigation of allegations of hazing," Executive Director Stacye Montez told United Press International in a statement Thursday.
"Hazing of any kind is strictly prohibited and is inconsistent" with sorority principles, her statement said, adding her office would cooperate with the university "and other appropriate officials."
The student withdrew from the sorority.
The chapter is the third Zeta Phi Beta chapter to be suspended or expelled from a university in two years, records reviewed by UPI indicated.
The Colorado State University chapter in Fort Collins was expelled indefinitely in spring 2009 after campus police found numerous alleged incidents of hazing and harassment that one sorority pledge called "torture."
The Coastal Carolina University chapter near Myrtle Beach, S.C., was suspended for five years last August after being found in violation of the university's hazing policy.
Montez told UPI she would have no comment beyond her statement.