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Family of Timothy Piazza, Killed by Frat Hazing, To File Lawsuit

— May 17, 2017

The family of Timothy Piazza, a 19-year old student at Penn State University who’d die after partaking in a hazing ritual, plans to file a lawsuit against both the school and the fraternity involved.

Piazza was a freshman at Penn State when he rushed the Greek-letter organization Beta Theta Pi. As part of a hazing ritual – commonly referred to as “pledging” – Piazza, along with other members of his pledge class, were instructed to drink egregious quanities of alcohol.

Being led down into the fraternity chapter’s basement, Piazza stumbled, tripping down the stairs and suffering traumatic brain injuries which ultimately led to his death.

Timothy’s father, Jim, assigned blame to the university as well as Beta Theta Pi and its members.

“I think the individuals involved clearly bear the most responsibility,” said the elder Piazza. “If you read the timeline of what happened, they set out to feed these guys lethal amounts of alcohol from the outset. There was intent right there from the start.”

Unidentified man drinking from a shoe, often used as a hazing punishment; image by docmonstereyes, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, no changes.
Unidentified man drinking from a shoe, often used as a hazing punishment; image by docmonstereyes, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, no changes.

“They intended to bring these gentlemen to alcohol-poisoning levels right from the outset,” he continued. “At the end of the day, this was planned and orchestrated, and I think they all need to be held accountable.”

The forensic pathologist who conducted Piazza’s autopsy said his death was “the direct result of traumatic brain injuries.”

After falling down the stairas at the fraternity house, members of Beta Theta Pi waited half a day to call 911, according to a ‘report on the grand jury’s investigation.’

Eighteen mebmers of Beta Theta Pi are being charged with counts which include involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment and hazing. Six others are charged with evidence tampering.

ABC News quotes Piazza’s mother, Evelyn, as saying, “I don’t know where their conscience was, where the voice in the back of their head was saying, ‘He’s hurt. I gotta do the right thing.’”

“I don’t understand how they could be so heartless and inhumane,” she lamented.

ABC News also referred to several quotes by William Brennan, a defense attorney representing one of the accused charged with one count of reckless endangerment.

“My client has – and this is not to be misinterpreted of acceptance of responsibility of admitting culpability – my client has tremendous human compassion and empathy for the family of the deceased, for the deceased himself. This was an unspeakable tragedy. Having said that, it is my position that there is no criminality on the part of my client,” Brennan said.

The Piazza family has stated one of their primary goals is to act as “advocates” for the parents of other children preparing to enter college and possibly join Greek-letter organizations.


Penn State Fraternity Death: Timothy Piazza’s Parents Say Son Treated Like ‘Road Kill’

Penn State pledge’s family plans to file lawsuit, claims ‘planned and orchestrated’ fraternity drinking

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