Disciplinary actions taken by William Paterson University in New Jersey against two of its students for allegedly hazing and trying to perform an exorcism on another student were upheld by a state appeals court Monday, NorthJersey.com reported. Students Jedediah Rockwell and Krishani Nadarajah were both found responsible for hazing, while Nadarajah was found responsible for assault as well.
Lawyers for the students said they were denied due process because they couldn’t confront their accuser, who is identified only as a female student. The student detailed the “cult-like” activity of a small group of students she got involved with, in which she said an exorcism was performed on her in April 2013, NJ.com reported.
The woman became associated with the group when she started dating one of the other members. Once while the group was assembled, Rockwell began to talk about demons and said the group members had alter egos that could take hold of the group members at random points.
Eventually some of the group members tried to tell the unnamed woman she was possessed by a spirit named “Olivia.” She told police she was placed on “lock-down” in a room where the group tried to perform an exorcism on her to get rid of the spirit.
She said during this incident, Nadarajah and Rockwell both slapped her and that Rockwell also put his hand on her throat in an attempt to rid her of “Olivia.” Nadarajah and Rockwell denied the allegations but also said the group was known for “roughhousing,” the Daily Mail reported.
"Cult-like" hazing at New Jersey college including exorcisms, and students taking on alternate personas. https://t.co/Ln7Ty8yy9P
— Adam K Olson (@adamkolson) January 26, 2016
Rockwell said the group’s meetings were “all fun and games,” and that while he did get physical with the woman, it wasn’t more than a “little” slap to the face. Some members of the group said they would engage in live-action role-playing where they would act out made-up scenarios as a game.
Nadarajah will be suspended from classes for a year and Rockwell must move out of student residence halls for a year.