Penn State death followed others blamed on hazing in US fraternities

Excerpt from GMA article via by Michael Edison Hayden

The recent charges filed against fraternity members in the death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza during a fraternity pledge ceremony have stoked interest in the detailed allegations of inaction among group members in coming to his aid, but fatalities of this nature are not uncommon on U.S. college campuses.

“This case is perhaps the most extreme case of the major shift that I have observed first-hand at colleges and universities across the country. Colleges traditionally have tried to handle the majority of student disciplinary matters internally, perhaps to avoid tarnishing their reputation. That has become much more difficult in light of high-profile cases such as this one. I have seen a rise in criminal charges out of New Jersey schools such as Rowan University and Rutgers University, even for relatively minor offenses such as Marijuana Possession, Underage Drinking, and DWI. At the same time, the potential consequences of these charges have become more serious, including loss of student housing and financial aid, and loss of potential employment opportunities. The party is not over for college students, but they certainly need to be a lot more careful or for some, it will quickly come to a screeching halt.”

– NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Tim Farrow

Here are some similar deaths that occurred in recent years:

April 20, 2013: Virginia State University

Four men who belonged to Men of Honor, an unsanctioned fraternity on campus at VSU, were convicted for manslaughter after hazing two students by making them walk into the Appomattox River, resulting in their drowning deaths.

The students — Marvell Edmondson of Portsmouth, and Jauwan Holmes of Newport News, both 19 — were “submerged nearly as soon as they entered the river” and were immediately swept downstream, according to a report in The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Cory D. Baytop, Eriq Benson, Charles E. Zollicoffer III and James A. Mackey Sr. all agreed to plea agreements in the two deaths, the paper reported.

Virginia State University did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Men of Honor or whether the unsanctioned fraternity still had a presence on campus.

Dec. 8, 2013: Baruch College

Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, sustained fatal head trauma during a fraternity hazing ritual at a weekend retreat for his predominantly Asian-American Pi Delta Psi fraternity in Tunkhannock Township, Pennsylvania, according to authorities.

A native of the borough of Queens in New York City, he was allegedly blindfolded and forced to carry a 20-pound bag of sand while being tackled by other members of the frat as part of a hazing ritual called the glass ceiling.

At one point he was shoved and fell over, hitting his head, police said at the time.

Thirty-seven defendants were charged in connection with Deng’s death, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Ka-Wing Yuen, 25, the first of the 37 suspects charged, was placed on five years of probation in January of this year, according to a report in The Associated Press.

He was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $100 fine, the AP reported.

He pleaded guilty Jan. 10 to conspiracy to hinder apprehension and conspiracy to haze for helping cover up the death of Deng, the AP reported.

Baruch College issued a lifetime ban of the fraternity after the incident.

Read the full article from GMA via at–abc-news-topstories.html

Tim Farrow, of Dash Farrow, LLP, is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor who handles criminal defense matters of any kind.  When you need experienced, focused, and responsive legal help, call Dash Farrow, LLP at 856-235-8300 or Contact Us Here. We serve individuals and businesses throughout Burlington and Camden County, and all of South Jersey.

CategoryCriminal Law, News