Athletic teams, fraternities and high school groups often initiate new members by hazing them — making them perform embarrassing or degrading stunts. But sometimes hazing switches from silliness to cruelty, criminality or even deadly violence. Last May, five suburban Chicago high school girls were treated at a local hospital for injuries received during a videotaped hazing incident that turned into a melee. In August, varsity football players at a New York high school sodomized junior varsity players with broomsticks, golf balls and pine cones. And dozens of freshmen pledges have died over the years during dangerous fraternity hazings, which are illegal in most states. Experts say more should be done to stamp out hazing, but supporters say the ancient practice builds character and camaraderie.