Penn State University Police filed charges Tuesday against three women that police said hazed a former student.
The three women, Bianca Jeanty, 21, of Maplewood, N.J.; Hanif Johnson, 22, of Harrisburg; and Felicia Ragsdale, 22, of State College, are charged with simple assault and criminal conspiracy, both misdemeanors, as well as harassment, a summary offense, according to court documents.
Police said the three defendants repeatedly assaulted Asya Trowell between April 2 and April 4. Trowell's attorney Scott Cooper said in May that a day after the incident, Trowell left the university and went to her home in Owings Mills, Md.
Trowell stated that while she was pledging Omega Essence, a "little sister" organization of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the three defendants punched, slapped, kicked and struck her with both wet and dry washcloths in the abdomen and legs, police said.
Trowell also stated that the assaults continued in a field behind 842 W. Whitehall Rd. and in the basement of another house, police said.
University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said that because the three violated the sections of the Student Code of Conduct that deal with hazing/abuse/endangerment and harassment, they will all be expelled.
Powers also said that the three may petition to return to the university after one calendar year but that there is no guarantee of return.
For Ragsdale and Johnson, who were both set to graduate, their degree will be withheld until the indefinite expulsion is lifted, according to Powers.
"We take the crimes of hazing and harassment seriously at Penn State and will follow through on claims of this nature to reach the truth, and determine what actions are necessary to hold those responsible," Powers said. "Hopefully, we are sending a message that this will not be tolerated."
Police said Trowell first reported the assault to University Police on April 9 after seeking medical treatment due to "severe pain and internal bruising as well as bruising to her face and eyes."
Cooper said that it is good that the university has decided to do something with regard to the case, even if it does only relate to misdemeanor and summary charges.
"I'm glad that they've done something to show that this [hazing] isn't going to be tolerated at the university, especially with the school year starting soon," Cooper said.
Cooper said that he initially wished that the charges were more serious considering to amount of physical and emotional damage done to Trowell, but that it is important the university has done something.
Cooper also said that Trowell is moving on with her life now as best she can and that she is still being treated for her injuries both physically and psychologically. Cooper also said that Trowell has transferred schools but would not say where for the sake of her privacy.
"It can finally be put to rest the idea that what happened can be doubted," Cooper said.