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Tenn. Police Investigate 'Bizarre' Alcohol Poisoning Case

The father of a University of Tennessee fraternity member at the center of a reportedly bizarre alcohol poisoning incident said the family now is launching their own investigation in an effort to correct "significantly erroneous" information released by police.

Alexander P. Broughton, 20, was brought to the University of Tennessee Medical Center at approximately 1:15 a.m. Saturday with a blood-alcohol content "well over" 0.40 percent after allegedly using rubber tubing to administer an alcohol enema, according to the Knoxville Police Department.

"The incident as reported is not true in its entirety," the student's father, Mark Broughton of Memphis, said Tuesday. "There is significantly erroneous information out there and it has come from the Knoxville Police Department."

Alexander Broughton, a graduate of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, initially was admitted to the hospital's critical care unit. He was released Sunday around noon and returned to classes Monday, his father said.

"He's fine, medically. He did not miss a day of school," he said, speaking on behalf of his son. Otherwise, however, the student is "livid" at law enforcement's characterization of the incident, which allegedly occurred at the Pi Kappa Alpha house on the UT campus.

The elder Broughton declined to elaborate on what specific aspects of the police account are in dispute. He said his family is speaking to medical personnel, fraternity members, UT officials, and both the Knoxville and University of Tennessee police departments.

According to a UTPD incident report, campus police initially were dispatched to the hospital after four unnamed young men arrived with an unresponsive male who "appeared to be extremely intoxicated and showed signs of physical and possible sexual assault."

A KPD investigator already on-scene interviewing one of the young men, told the arriving campus officers, "that Mr. Broughton had been 'butt-chugging' wine at 1820 Fraternity Park Drive," the incident report states.

UTPD officers, along with a KPD forensic unit, then responded to the fraternity house, where they allegedly found several young men passed out in their rooms "and bags from wine boxes, some empty and some partially empty, strewn across the halls and the rooms," the report reads.

KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk issued a news release Monday identifying Alexander Broughton as the victim who had been brought to the ER with the potentially fatal blood-alcohol level.

The KPD release goes on to explain that, "Upon extensive questioning it is believed that members of the fraternity were utilizing rubber tubing inserted into their rectums as a conduit for alcohol as the abundance of capillaries and blood vessels present greatly heightens the level and speed of the alcohol entering the blood stream as it bypasses the filtering by the liver."

The statement also specifies that because the incident allegedly occurred on campus, "the investigation has been turned over to UTPD. The Knoxville Police Department will continue to assist UTPD as needed."

Local media coverage of such lurid details has since drawn considerable attention, with published accounts going viral online.

On Tuesday, Mark Broughton questioned why KPD released any information on the incident, "especially if they did not complete an investigation.

"My concern is the defamation of character that is occurring to my son. ... I'm not saying the entire story is false -- it's not. But portions of it were significantly erroneous."

The father added he's not aware whether his son is likely to be cited for underage consumption or other offenses. He has taught the young man, however, to "take responsibility for his own actions," and said that his son has agreed to speak with UTPD investigators.

Meanwhile, Mark Broughton said his family would release a public statement at the conclusion of their own investigation, which also may result in legal action.

"I'm certainly not ruling it out," the father said. "But I want to follow the facts first."

(c) 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.

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