A frat boy in North Carolina stands accused of injuring the spine of a non-member over a spilled beer. The accused is Walter Pierce Conger, a student at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The fraternity where he is recruitment chairman is Pi Kappa Alpha.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Victim Says 4 Other Frat Boys Beat Him
WLOS reports that incident happened in April 2015 when the victim, Zach Denson, was attending a party off campus with members of the fraternity. Denson’s father, Bob, told the station that his son accidentally knocked over Conger’s beer. Bob Denson says his son suffered a broken nose, a concussion and a spinal injury. He added that four other frat boys were involved and they should also be charged. “When they threw those punches, they messed up their futures,” Bob Denson said.
2. The Victim Won’t Be Returning to School
The incident is being investigated by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. So far Conger is charged with assault inflicting serious injury, which is a misdemeanor. WCU spokesman Bill Studenc told the Asheville Citizen-Times that “Officials are investigating any potential violations of the Code of Student Conduct, and that university-level investigation is still ongoing. If individuals are found through that disciplinary process to have violated university policies, federal law governing the privacy of educational records prohibits the university from disclosing those results.” Conger faces a court date in Jackson County on May 27. Bob Denson told the Citizen Times that his son won’t be returning to Western Carolina University next fall.
3. Conger Is the Frat’s Recruitment Chairman
According to the Pi Kappa Alpha website, Conger is the frat’s Recruitment Chairman. On his Facebook page, Conger says that he’s a native of Statesville, North Carolina, and went to high school at Mooresville Senior High, graduating in 2013. The cover image of his page celebrates his frat’s Spring Rush in 2015.
4. Zach Denson Was a Philosophy Student
On Zach Denson’s Facebook page, he writes that he’s a Philosophy student at Western Carolina University. He told WCNC that his injuries consisted of a “severe concussion, that spinal cord misalignment, broken nose, bruising to the rib cage stuff like this.” He recalls the incident that led to his alleged assault as this:
I remember nudging somebody with this part of my arm, then turning around to say something as if to apologize, like, ‘I’m sorry, man. I didn’t mean to hit you.’ Then it was like I got punched in the face.
He added that since the incident, Denson still suffers headaches.
5. Back in February, Conger’s Frat Were Suspended Over Water Boarding Allegations
In February 2015, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was suspended after it was alleged that members had water boarded pledges. The fraternity was suspended for five years. The Asheville Citizen Times reports that a pledge had to recite the fraternity’s preamble while having water forcibly thrown down his throat.