A UT student and fraternity member at the center of an investigation over so-called alcohol enemas broke his silence Tuesday, speaking with his attorney at a news conference and then more candidly with reporters afterward.
Following the conference at Circle Park, where he was flanked by other members of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter that has been suspended in the wake of the September 22 incident, Alexander Broughton expressed his frustration with official accounts of what happened.
"I know the truth. I don't care if you all believe me," he said.
The student denied any allegations of using alcohol enema, and instead said it was a night of drinking that got out of hand.
"I got way too drunk, I'll admit that," he said. "I was dumb, it was so dumb. I look back on that night and there's so many things I could have done different[ly], and none of this would have ever happened."
Broughton says he was just as shocked by the allegations of "butt chugging" as everyone else, and had not heard of the practice before facing questions at the hospital.
"I never heard it before, until I woke up on Saturday morning and was told they thought I was doing that," he said.
Broughton, 20, was brought to UT Medical Center in the early morning hours of that Saturday with a blood alcohol content of more than .40, according to a KPD release sent to 10News the following Monday. Hospital staff thought he showed signs of sexual assault, so they called KPD.
Knoxville attorney Daniel McGeHee, who represents Broughton and called the news conference, also reiterated previous claims from his client's family that Broughton did not engage in "butt-chugging." He also claimed the university, UT Medical Center, UT Police, and the Knoxville Police Department released false information to the media about the incident.
McGeHee also released a lengthy statement from Broughton to the media.
At the press conference, McGehee said that UT had violated Broughton's civil rights by releasing false and misleading information. He also blamed the media, saying, "Shame on you," for reporting the story and said the "irresponsible media should go back to journalism school and take a good ethics course."
The reporting by 10News on the alcohol incident is based on documents made public by both Knoxville Police and the University of Tennessee.
Those documents include a KPD news release, along with police reports and additional findings from UT Police that were released by the university. 10News has consistently cited those authorities as the sources of our reporting.
Since the story broke, 10News repeatedly tried to reach members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and made repeated efforts to include Alexander Broughton's side of the story.
Before Tuesday's news conference, most requests were turned down.
10News did receive and report a statement from the fraternity's national office, and Broughton's father commented on the case over the phone and denied the allegations against his son. He would not allow 10News reporters to record those conversations.
Investigators believe Broughton and other Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members may have used rubber tubing to give each other alcohol enemas. Police said the practice heightens and speeds up the process of alcohol entering the blood stream because it bypasses the liver's filters. UT suspended the fraternity on September 28.
During the news conference, Broughton read a brief statement, saying he made a bad choice that almost cost him his life, but that he completely denied "butt chugging." He said he wanted to clear his name and the reputation of his fraternity, and did not rule out legal action.
When questioned about the evidence gathered by police and a statement by Broughton's cousin to police about what happened that night, McGehee said all the evidence gathered by KPD was a total lie, and they would "stand by that til hell freezes over."
In a detailed press release, Broughton explained his version of what happened that night. He said he and several pledges played a game called "Tour de Franzia" at the fraternity house, which involves drinking from wine boxes.
He said he got very intoxicated and lost consciousness, and was told that his fraternity brothers put him in the shower to try to wake him. At that time, he said they lifted him by his belt, causing some bruising in his crotch area. He believed that was what medical personnel believed was the evidence of sexual assault. He also said a rape kit was done while he was in the hospital.
He said that he was never interviewed by Knoxville Police or UT Police while in the hospital. Broughton said he repeatedly denied the accusation against him to UT Police, but they didn't believe him.
KPD did the initial police report on the incident, then turned everything over to UT Police and said they will issue no further statement on the case.
University officials would not comment, and UT Medical Center said it was continuing to cooperate with authorities but did not comment on the statements by Broughton and his attorney.