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Citadel cadet hit women, father says

Picture of The Citadel

Daughter 'living in terror'

December 15, 1996
Web posted at: 10:20 a.m. EST

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (CNN) -- A male Citadel cadet used a rifle butt to shove two female freshmen against a wall and then struck them in the head, the father of one of the women told CNN Sunday.

The two cadets, Kim Messer of Clover and Jeanie Mentavlos of Charlotte, North Carolina, have been subjected to other abuse since entering The Citadel in August with two other women, Messer's father said.

"She was crying and asking him to quit and he just kept on," Harvey Messer told The (Charleston) Post and Courier in Sunday's editions. He said the cadet hit the other female too.

"She has been living in terror for God knows how long. She wouldn't tell us until very recently," he said. "She was afraid of some threats that were made physical harm. She said one guy singled her and Jeanie out and constantly harassed them, shoved them around."

Mentavlos

Cadet suspended in separate hazing case

The military college is also investigating accusations that someone sprayed one male and two female cadets with a flammable liquid and set their clothes on fire about four weeks ago. Officials said no one was injured.

The Citadel has suspended one male cadet and relieved three student officers of military duties pending an investigation into the flammable-liquid allegations. The school has not released the names of the cadets involved or the victims. The State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI also are investigating.

Clifton Poole, the school's interim president, said Saturday the hazing incident involving flammable liquid did not appear to be gender-related.

icon (108K/9 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Poole said one sophomore cadet was directly involved in the hazing and "I thought the offense was serious enough to suspend him from the school immediately."

In addition, three cadet officers of Echo Company, which includes three of the four women, were relieved of their military commands.

It was not immediately clear if Poole was aware of the hitting incident that Messer spoke of.

Daughter told Dad to keep quiet

Asked by The Post and Courier whether the school heard of female cadets being struck by other cadets, Citadel spokesman Terry Leedom said he "hadn't heard a word about that."

"If that did occur, that's totally and completely unacceptable," he said.

Messer said the abuse from upperclassmen intensified after both women were excused from physical training because of pelvic stress fractures that came from excessive marching.

"They tried to make them march and do PT, even though they were exempted from it," he said. "My daughter asked me not to call down there and complain because it would be worse on her."

Despite the abuse, Messer said, his daughter intends to remain at The Citadel.

"She hasn't expressed any desires about quitting and not going," Messer told the paper.

Leedom said Mentavlos left the school infirmary Saturday after spending the night. Both women stayed off campus Saturday night, Messer said.

The other two women who enrolled in August, Nancy Mace of Goose Creek and Petra Lovetinska, a Czech national who lives in Washington, D.C., are doing well, Citadel Board Chairman Jimmy Jones said.

Anne Mace said Saturday her daughter has never mentioned any harassment. "To my knowledge, Nancy has not been involved or hurt in any way. I expect her cadre to protect her, not hurt her."

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