published Friday, September 28th, 2012

UT student denies 'butt-chugging,' won't explain injuries

  • photo
    In a Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, photograph, the University of Tennessee Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house is seen in Knoxville, Tenn. The fraternity was the scene of a notorious alcohol enema incident that sent one student to the hospital and brought unwanted attention to the university. W. Timothy Rogers, vice chancellor for student life said a trio of investigations by the University of Tennessee Police Department, the Pi Kappa Alpha national office and the UT Office of Student Judicial Affairs are under way into the Sept. 22 incident.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Xander Broughton told police he thought he'd won.

His prize? A trip to the emergency room, a near-fatal alcoholic blackout and international ridicule.

Alexander Price "Xander" Broughton, a 20-year-old University of Tennessee student from Memphis, swore to officers he never "butt-chugged" himself into a coma with a box of cheap red wine over the weekend, but bloodstains, his injuries and at least one witness account told a different story, UT records released Thursday show.

"Mr. Broughton stated that at no time did he 'butt chug' wine or any other alcoholic beverage and that no one inserted anything into his rectum," UT police Lt. Dana McReynolds wrote in a report.

He wouldn't agree to let police review his medical records.

Broughton and about a dozen other underage friends, including fellow members of fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha's Zeta chapter, chugged the wine — through one orifice or another — as part of a "blackout party," with one member posting photos to Twitter, and tried to destroy evidence afterward, according to UT police reports.

Broughton was treated for severe alcohol poisoning Saturday after, according to police, four of his Pike brothers dumped him at the University of Tennessee Medical Center emergency room unconscious around 1:15 a.m. with a blood-alcohol level of nearly 0.45 — a potentially deadly concentration more than five times the legal limit.

Doctors declared him in critical condition, with rectal injuries so pronounced officials called for a sexual assault nurse.

Knoxville and UT police officers went to the Pi Kappa Alpha house, 1820 Fraternity Park Drive, and found the courtyard, halls and rooms littered with beer cans, empty bags from wine boxes and three passed-out frat boys — one of them naked, according to the reports. A fellow UT student, John Patrick Carney, told investigators they'd been "butt-chugging" wine, according to police records.

Butt-chugging — a term that's made the round of headlines, newscasts and jokes this week — refers to using alcohol enemas to get drunk faster.

UT officials had met with Greek leaders just 10 days before the incident to review campus rules against drinking.

Broughton told police he drank "four to six" beers before going to the Pike house and then drank about half of a half-full 5-liter box of cheap red Franzia wine. He described the drinking as part of a game called "Tour de Franzia," based on seeing who can drink the most wine straight from the box without throwing up.

Broughton "does not remember anything else until he woke up in the hospital," McReynolds, the UT police lieutenant, wrote. "Mr. Broughton stated that according to his fraternity brothers he finished off (the box) and won the game."

Broughton tried to blame bloodstains found throughout the Pike house on a fight, according to a report. Investigators didn't buy the story, given his injuries and a bloody mess found in the Pike house restroom.

"There was a plastic bag with a light pink wine on the floor," UT police Sgt. Angela O'Neal wrote. "In front of the (rest room) door there was an empty plastic bag. There was bloodstained tissues on the sink, the sink counter top and the floor. I observed two of the toilet stalls had blood on the floor. ... There was a plastic bag with a pink wine in front of the couch and a red Solo cup containing this same liquid."

Broughton's family has disputed police accounts, and his frat brothers have posted denials on Twitter under such headings as "welikepike" and "dontslanderxander."

Police records indicate the Pikes showed little concern when told Broughton might die.

The chapter president, George Bock, arrived at the house drunk, called members to warn them to stay away from the house and "would not answer my questions directly," O'Neal wrote. The car used to drive Broughton to the hospital apparently had been cleaned before police arrived but still had an empty beer can in the back, she wrote.

Broughton has recovered and returned to classes. Officers cited 12 others on charges of underage drinking, and UT has suspended the chapter indefinitely.

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