DA announces charges against Penn State frat, 18 members

Adjust Comment Print

After conducting its own investigation, Penn State permanently banned Beta Theta Pi earlier this spring, citing evidence of forced drinking, hazing and other illegal activity.

Piazza fell down a long set of steps that night, and fell several other times, injuring his head, Miller said.

"This is the result of a feeling of entitlement, flagrant disregard" for the law.

Beta Theta Pi International Fraternity described the "nature of those charges" as "incredibly disheartening as the organization and its membership continue to grieve Tim's passing and the pain experienced by his family".

The Beta Theta Pi House at Penn State. Penn State has one of the most aggressive student misconduct policies in the country, and its off-campus policy pertaining to misconduct remains the most vigorous in the Big Ten.

Eighteen Penn State fraternity brothers have been charged with crimes ranging up to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a pledge who authorities say repeatedly fell down a flight of stairs after he and others were made to run a gantlet of drinking stations guzzling vodka, beer and wine.

Barron says it's "numbing" to see that a risky atmosphere could occur at a fraternity that prided itself on commitment to each other and the community. This includes fraternity president Brendan Young.

The grand jury report concluded that "the severity of Timothy Piazza's condition was obvious and noticed by the fraternity brothers and pledges around him that evening".

On May 5, prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced they had lodged charges against 18 fraternity members and the frat house itself.

Wednesday night rain prompts new Flash Flood Watch
Numerous river flood warnings are in effect to the south and east of the Kansas City area, according to the weather service. The tri-county region is expected to be hit fairly evenly with the rain: two inches in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Piazza, of Lebanon, N.J., was intoxicated at the February 2 Pledge Party when he fell multiple times and was knocked unconscious, the district attorney said.

A brother calls 911 around 10:48 a.m., but doesn't mention the fall to a dispatcher, prosecutors say. When the same man insisted again that Piazza required help, he was told others were biology and kinesiology majors so his opinion wasn't as valuable as theirs, the jury said.

Piazza died February 2, and the brothers are members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on Penn State's University Park campus. When paramedics arrived, Piazza was unconscious on a couch on the main floor.

The cause of death was traumatic brain injury that resulted from several falls, including a fall down a set of basement stairs, according to a 65-page statement issued by Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller after a county grand jury investigation. Police said Piazza fell at the frat around 11 p.m. however, first responders were not called until nearly 12 hours later.

In the week leading up to Timothy Piazza's death, "one Beta brother bought almost $1,180 worth of alcohol, including Four Loko and Crown Russe vodka, prosecutors said", according to NBC.

The news conference will be held at 10 a.m.in Bellefonte. Around 7:15 a.m., video shows Piazza "staggering" toward the basement steps. It found that a text message recovered by police urged pledges to get rid of evidence of alcohol and that conversations discussing deleting conversations from a messaging app were discovered.

He said they are committed "to doing everything that we can so that no other parents will have to go through the pain and grief we are now experiencing". According to Erickson's testimony, Piazza was "breathing heavy", had "blood on his face", felt "cold to the touch" and appeared "pale" with his eyes half-opened. The university also instituted new rules for the rest of its 83 fraternities and sororities, whose members represent about 18 percent of the student body.

He pointed to what he called the national problem and how Penn State dealt with problems of alcohol miss-use.