In 2013, a college student died after a hazing ritual during a pledge event in the Poconos. In one of the first cases of its kind, the national fraternity was charged in addition to dozens of members of the local chapter.
The hazing event took place during a weekend hazing event in the Poconos. The student, a 19 year old from New York, suffered severe head trauma. Fraternity members waited over an hour to take him to a local hospital where he died the next day. A civil lawsuit against the fraternity is currently pending. Get more info about college crime lawsuits.
The fraternity, Pi Delta Psi, was charged with multiple criminal offenses in connection with the student’s death. Over 30 members of the fraternity’s chapter at a college in New York were also charged with various criminal charges.
Earlier this week, the national fraternity was sentenced after a jury trial in November resulted in Guilty verdicts on multiple charges:
- Aggravated Assault (First Degree Felony)
- Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault (First Degree Felony)
- Involuntary Manslaughter (Second Degree Felony)
- Hindering Apprehension/Prosecution-Conceal/Destroy Evidence (Third Degree Felony)
- Hindering Apprehension/Prosecution-False Info to Law Enforcement (Third Degree Felony)
- Conspiracy to Hinder Apprehension/Prosecution-Conceal/Destroy Evidence (Third Degree Felony)
- Conspiracy to Hinder Apprehension/Prosecution-False Info to Law Enforcement (Third Degree Felony)
- Hazing (Third Degree Misdemeanor)
The fraternity was ordered to pay over $110,000 in fines and was banned from operating any chapter in the entire state for a period of 10 years. See Commonwealth v. Pi Delta Psi, CP-45-CR-0002578-2015, Monroe County, PA.
In addition, four fraternity members were convicted of multiple charges including manslaughter and given jail terms. Three of them were sentenced to 24 months in jail, and the fourth was sentenced to time served since he’d already spent just under a year in jail.
Criminal Cases Against Fraternities for Hazing Injuries
The recent criminal case against the NY fraternity is catching on. In a remarkably similar case at Penn State, a national fraternity is facing criminal charges after a freshman died after a night of extreme drinking during a hazing event in 2017. The student suffered repeated falls down stairs that resulted in major internal injuries as well as a serious head injury. Like the student in the Poconos, he later died after fraternity members waited before calling for an ambulance.
The District Attorney’s Office in Centre County filed charges against nearly 20 members as well as the national fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. Currently, the case is being reviewed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. The current District Attorney in Centre County has indicated he has a conflict of interest and asked the AG’s Office to assume prosecution.
For more info, visit the crime victim injury law library.