Lee West III: UH Graduate Who Alleged Hazing Settles with Omega Psi Phi

The long wait has ended for Lee West III, the University of Houston graduate who had sued Omega Psi Phi over alleged hazing incidents in 2009.

Hair Balls learned today that the case, filed in Harris County in April 2010, had been settled out of court.

Ayesha Mutope-Johnson, who has been representing the West family in the civil suit, confirmed the settlement, but said that she and the West family were going to keep mum on the subject due to a "confidentiality agreement."

As a junior at UH in February 2009, West III pledged the century-old fraternity, one of the country's oldest and most distinguished African-American Greek organizations, because his father, Lee West Jr., had been a proud member of the Q Dogs.

However, West III claimed that his experiences were nothing like his dad's. Along with mental torture, West III said that he and his pledge brothers were repeatedly beaten with a wood board, a baseball bat and a television antenna at the private homes of fraternity members.

These episodes -- along with Omega Psi Phi's violent past -- were chronicled in Houston Press's October 20, 2011 cover story "Sons of Blood and Thunder."

Though Mutope-Johnson declined comment on Monday morning, the Houston-based attorney, during a phone conversation with Hair Balls last month, said that the West family had grown tired of the long and grating wait that sometimes comes with legal proceedings.

The trial had been rescheduled, at the last minute, a handful of times, adding to the agony that West III claimed he had felt ever since the apparent beatings took place.

"I'm a little detached," West III told the Press during a September interview at his father's Grand Prairie home, "but it's still pretty upsetting to think the opportunity was taken away from me."


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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen