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Victim of alleged hazing attack describes abuse at off-campus fraternity

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George Sinclair was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. (West Hartford police photo) George Sinclair was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. (West Hartford police photo)
Phi Delta Theta on Albany Avenue in West Hartford was not sanctioned by UHart, the university said. (WFSB photo) Phi Delta Theta on Albany Avenue in West Hartford was not sanctioned by UHart, the university said. (WFSB photo)

The victim of a college hazing incident spoke only to Eyewitness News and claimed he was harassed and abused by members of a fraternity he thought was real.

However, documents that were released this week show the fraternity was dropped from the University of Hartford years ago.

Court documents said George Sinclair, 21, of New London, was part of an underground off-campus fraternity house called Phi Delta Theta on Albany Avenue in West Hartford.

According to UHart officials, Phi Delta Theta has not been part of UHart since March 2011 because "their charter was suspended for failing chapter operations."

Police said that the victim, Mohammed Nofal, was brought to a golf course with other pledges and was told to strip down to his underwear. He and the others then had to jump into a pond and tread water for 20 minutes.

Nofal, who is a freshman at UHart, said in the documents that "pledges were ordered to sleep outside on the deck all night with only one blanket to share."

"They kept harassing us every time," Nofal said. "We said, 'That's it, leave me alone.'"

Nofal said they were also asked questions by Sinclair.

If they got them wrong, they were punished by doing "pushups, planking with elbows on sharp edges of bottle caps and putting out lit cigarettes on the tongue and swallowing them."

The victim said he went to police after he was hit on the left side of his chest with a golf club. When he fell to the ground in pain, fraternity members spit and poured liquor on him, according to the documents.

"He just swung the club and it hit me across," Nofal said. "And it hit the wall besides me and I fell to the ground. I fell to the ground, all while spitting on me, saying racist stuff."

Nofal, who filed at a complaint with the West Hartford Police Department in November, was hospitalized and treated for a collapsed lung, the papers said.

Nofal also told Eyewitness News that he lost hair because of the incidents and showed the station pictures.

"It was just a bad experience," Nofal said. "I lost my hair. I had a collapsed lung. I lost 30 pounds. I did bad in school, nothing good."

Police said Sinclair did not live on campus. University officials said Sinclair is not a member of Phi Delta Theta, nor are any members of that fraternity students at UHart.

"Any University of Hartford student misrepresenting themselves as a member of Phi Delta Theta is doing so illegally. Phi Delta Theta does not condone any form of hazing. Furthermore, the alleged actions being reported are deplorable and directly contradict the values and policies of Phi Delta Theta," UHart officials said in a statement Wednesday.

In the court documents obtained by Eyewitness News, UHart's vice president said he mailed a letter to parents of students at the beginning of the 2013 semester warning about the risks involved in joining underground frats including Phi Delta Theta.

Nofal said he never received that letter and if he had, he said he would have never pledged to the fraternity.

"I would have never," Nofal said. "My parents didn't know about it until I told them my life was in danger."

Sinclair turned himself in Thursday and was given a $1,000 bond, according to police.

Sinclair was supposed to face a judge in Hartford Superior Court, officials said. However, the case was continued until next week.

Eyewitness News visited the fraternity on Wednesday; however, no one answered the door.

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