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Penn State Student Death: Frat Members Charged With Manslaughter

Image: Penn State Student Death: Frat Members Charged With Manslaughter
Eighteen fraternity members at Penn State have been charged with manslaughter. (trekandshoot/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 05 May 2017 07:45 PM

Prosecutors charged 18 Penn State students and their fraternity with involuntary manslaughter Friday in the death of a student at a pledge party earlier this year.

Tim Piazza died after students failed to call for help when he fell down stairs at a Beta Theta Pi fraternity pledge party after a hazing ritual in February, according to Philly.com. Piazza may have participated in “the gauntlet,” an event in which fraternity pledges may drink as many as four to five drinks in two minutes.

Although the fraternity said it doesn't “tolerate hazing or alcohol abuse in any form by its members,” according to Philly.com, the incident made clear such activities were commonplace during pledge week on the campus.

Grand jury testimony detailed the events of the night before Piazza died, including several falls that resulted in head injuries. It was only when Piazza fell again the next morning and became unconscious that fraternity members called for emergency help, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Doctors estimated Piazza’s blood-alcohol content was nearly .40 when he fell for the first time. Fraternity members helped him onto a couch and checked on him throughout the night, but didn’t call emergency personnel for 12 hours until he fell again, the WSJ reported.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity was permanently banned by Penn State on March 30, and University President Eric Barron called reports of hazing activity “heart-wrenching, sickening, and incomprehensible.”

“It is numbing how an atmosphere that endangers the well-being and safety of another person could occur within an organization that prided itself on commitment to each other and to its community,” Barron said, the WSJ reported.

Twitter users were saddened and sickened by the story.

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Prosecutors charged 18 Penn State students and their fraternity with involuntary manslaughter Friday in the death of a student at a pledge party earlier this year.
penn state, student, death, manslaughter, fraternity
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2017-45-05
Friday, 05 May 2017 07:45 PM
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