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Posted at 01:32 PM ET, 10/03/2012

‘Tour de Franzia,’ not ‘butt chugging,’ landed fraternity member in hospital, attorney says


The University of Tennessee fraternity member whose Google search now links him to the act of “butt chugging” held a press conference on Tuesday to deny reports that he consumed alcohol through his rectum at a party in late September.

“On Friday, September 21, 2012 I made a bad choice regarding drinking. That decision almost cost me my life, and I deeply regret it,” said Alexander Broughton, 20, wearing a bright orange shirt and dark suit and surrounded by his stoic Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers. “However, the scandalous accusations surrounding that event never happened, and I completely deny them.”

After Broughton finished reading a short statement, a reporter asked: ”Can you clarify what did happen that day?”

He responded: “It’s a long story.”

His attorney, Daniel McGehee, told reporters that Broughton had never heard of ”butt chugging” before he landed in the hospital. Police have said Broughton’s blood alcohol level was above .4, the point at which death can occur. McGehee said his client became that sick by participating in “Tour de Franzia,” a drinking game during which people race to finish a box of Franzia wine.

According to a university police report (which you can read here), Broughton was taken to the hospital with damage to his rectum that made hospital workers suspect he might have been sexually assaulted. One of Broughton’s fraternity brothers told a police officer that ”Mr. Broughton’s condition was caused by ‘butt-chugging’” and then gave the officer a description of that nontraditional alcohol consumption method.

McGehee said that police report is “false and inaccurate,” and that Broughton’s friend has since given a sworn statement denying that he told the officer his friend had butt chugged wine.

“Everything gathered by [the police officer] is false, misleading and a total lie,” he said. McGehee also reprimanded the media for reporting those “lies.”

Broughton’s attorney said at the press conference that he plans to take legal action against those who spread misinformation or violated laws protecting student and patient privacy. McGehee also made a point of clarifying that his client “is a straight man.”

A university spokeswoman said in an e-mail on Wednesday that officials will not be responding to the accusations raised during the press conference. Last week, the university announced that Broughton’s fraternity had been “suspended indefinitely,” and voluntarily surrendered its charter.

The executive vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity said in a statement on Friday: “It is unfortunate that a group of initiated members of the chapter have tarnished Pi Kappa Alpha’s reputation.”

The university also plans to assemble a task force “to review Greek life on campus and to make recommendations for improving a personal sense of responsibility among members and enhancing the chapters’ contributions to campus life,” according to a statement.

Following the press conference, a few reporters followed Broughton and asked more questions, according to video footage. One asked: “Forgive me for saying this, but you seem very angry.”

A visibly frustrated Broughton responded: “Wouldn’t you be?”

As the questions continued, Broughton told the probing journalists: “I just drank way too much, and you all are blowing it way out of proportion. I got way too drunk, I’ll admit that... It was dumb. It was so dumb.”

For more higher education news, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook. And here are other pieces I have written about greek life:

Fraternity rush sobers up at U-Md. and elsewhere

U-Va. fraternity pledge hospitalized after soy-sauce dare

Fraternities hire acclaimed chefs

Tennessee frat suspended following ‘butt chugging’

By  |  01:32 PM ET, 10/03/2012

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