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In Pennsylvania, two fraternities and their members are facing allegations that extreme hazing activities led to the deaths of two pledges in separate incidents involving two colleges.
Whether it’s a fraternity or some other student organization, hazing rituals often get out of hand, and members simply follow along without doing the right thing, which is to stop the activity or call for help.
College hazing deaths due to alcohol are nothing new. They occur every year across the country and are not limited to fraternities. They happen in college sports or in organizations like bands.
The reality is that these types of college crimes have increased in recent years. The two most recent hazing deaths in Pennsylvania highlight the need for schools to implement effective monitoring and tighter restrictions on hazing and alcohol use.
Pledge Dies During Penn State Fraternity Hazing Ritual Involving Alcohol
Eighteen members of a fraternity at Penn State University face hundreds of criminal charges in the death of a 19 year old pledge in February 2017. The case has resulted in a significant amount of news coverage nationally and locally.
Criminal charges have also been filed against the fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, which faces over 100 charges, including hazing. The fraternity has been banned from campus. In addition, Penn State has suspended all pledging activities.
In February, a 19 year old pledge died after suffering major head injuries and internal injuries during a night of pledging. The fraternity required underage pledges to drink large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.
Security cameras inside the fraternity house captured the pledge falling down a full flight of stairs and then falling multiple times. Fraternity members are alleged to have waited over 12 hours before calling 911. They are also accused of texting each other in an effort to hide evidence and looking up how to treat a head injury and alcohol poisoning.
A grand jury investigation in Centre County revealed that though the fraternity was supposed to have been alcohol-free due to a suspension 8 years ago, it still engaged in hazing and alcohol abuse.
NY College Fraternity Members Plead Guilty After Pledge Dies During Hazing Assault
Another fraternity, this one at Baruch College in New York, is facing criminal charges along with multiple frat members. The fraternity, Pi Delta Psi, faces 13 counts, including murder in the third degree and various conspiracy charges.
The incident occurred in 2013, when members of the NY fraternity held a pledge event in the Poconos. Pledges were pummeled while blindfolded. One pledge fell backwards, hit his head and later died after frat members delayed in seeking medical attention.
Four members pled guilty earlier this week in Monroe County. The members faced a long list of charges including murder in the third degree. The case against the fraternity is still pending. Trial is scheduled for November.
For more information, visit our crime victims injury law library.