Two Kappa Alpha Psi pledges who claimed they suffered a barrage of daily beatings for almost two months had one defense they never used, a judge ruled: They could have walked away.

Maryland District Judge Robert Horsey ruled Thursday that the two, who needed surgery to remove infected flesh from their buttocks, essentially consented to the alleged hazing by paying $500 to join the fraternity and not leaving once the beatings began."I think they should have gotten smarter and gotten out," Horsey said, noting other pledges had left the fraternity.

At a preliminary hearing, Horsey dismissed the felony assault charges against four members of the Kappa Alpha Psi chapter, leaving only misdemeanor charges of hazing and reckless endangerment.

"You can't consent to being beaten and, at a later date, file charges," said Jeffrey Woodard, the attorney for the defendants.

Prosecutor Kristy Melker had argued the assault charges were justified. "They (the pledges) would hide in their dorm rooms so they wouldn't be beaten," she said. "I don't think they can consent to these types of injuries."

Police said the two victims, Dwayne Motley and Marcus Polk, were beaten daily from Feb. 8 to April 4, when they were hospitalized. Their parents contacted police after learning of their sons' conditions.