The extremes to which some fraternities and sororities haze new members has been the focus of many news media stories in recent years. The focus is largely due to deaths that occur when hazing is taken too far by members. Unfortunately, a Penn State fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, is among one of the fraternities whose hazing may have resulted in a student’s death. As many as 26 students in Pennsylvania are defendants in the ongoing case, and many have faced serious felony aggravated assault charges.
The hazing incident occurred in early 2017 and involved a 19-year-old sophomore. The sophomore attended an event held at the fraternity house where there was evidence of consumption of alcohol by many of the members and pledges. The sophomore apparently fell more than once as a result of intoxication from the hazing and suffered fatal brain injuries and internal bleeding.
As a result, as many as 26 students are facing criminal charges. A judge ruled in a recent hearing that the most serious charges of aggravated assault, along with other charges, were dropped. Five students still face involuntary manslaughter charges after new video evidence of the incident surfaced last fall.
Felony aggravated assault is a serious charge for anyone to face and can result in jail time. Like in this case, unfortunate tragedies can occur when simple events get out of hand. Despite any tragic circumstances, anyone facing charges of assault is entitled to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania to advocate for his or her legal rights as well as form an effective defense strategy.
Source: statecollege.com, “Some Assault, Manslaughter Charges Dropped in Beta Theta Pi Case“, Geoff Rushton, March 15, 2018