Hazing alleged in Catholic church case

ORLANDO, Fla., July 14 (UPI) -- A college student in Florida has leveled hazing charges against Catholic worshipers for allegedly trying to force him to consume a communion wafer.

Webster Cook, a member of the University of Central Florida's student government, filed the hazing charges with school administrators after admitting he took the wafer, considered sacred by Catholics, home after Mass June 29 over the objections of other worshipers, WFTV-TV in Orlando reported Monday.


Cook, who kept the wafer in a plastic bag at home for a week before returning it, said the school's anti-hazing policy bans the forced consumption of any food as a condition of admittance or affiliation with an school group.

While the rule generally is applied to fraternity pledging rituals, Cook contends it applies to all clubs, including the Catholic Campus Ministries.

Cook also maintains the Catholic club violates the school's underage alcohol policy by serving communal wine to minors.

University spokesman Grant Heston said Cook's charges are being reviewed.

The Diocese of Orlando has not commented on the charges, though previously a spokeswoman said Catholic students had filed charges of disruptive conduct with the university against Cook and a friend of his for their "disrespectful" behavior during the June 29 religious service.


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