SLED confirms investigation into 2009 Citadel hazing

Show above, in formation, is Tyler Phillips. (Provided)

By Brian

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division have confirmed the agency is investigating a substantiated 2009 claim of hazing on the campus of The Citadel.

SLED spokesperson Katherine Richardson said the decision to investigate the case came this week.

A lawsuit was filed two weeks ago in the case by former cadet James Tyler Phillips. Phillips said his filing of the suit was an attempt to raise awareness of the issue.

"It's not about the money, I can honestly say that," Phillips said. "It's not about the money or anything that comes out of it. It's mainly about the change of what needs to happen with the assaults, the hazing and anything that goes on behind closed doors there. The fact... that it's showing The Citadel that this isn't tolerated outside The Citadel."

Phillips' hazing claim was investigated by the U.S. Navy due to the fact he was a ROTC scholarship student. After the Navy substantiated the claim, they allowed him to leave The Citadel and keep his scholarship. Officials at The Citadel say they also investigated the claims, but say they were unable to prove Tyler was assaulted.

In the lawsuit Phillips filed on December 8, Phillips alleges he was beaten, threatened and ridiculed.

"I think it is paramount," Phillips said of the SLED investigation. "...Just because of how The Citadel reacted."

Phillips says other cadets threatened to take his life, he says he was spit on, kicked, and that on one occasion students attempted to light him on fire. But most alarming, he says what happened to him happens to many students at The Citadel.

"It happens college side," he said. "So, it's (investigation and lawsuit) bringing to light all the cases, harassment, assaults and the hazing that is going on there."

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