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Max Gruver update: LSU Phi Delta Theta

Man in hazing death accused of deleting files before search

BATON ROUGE, La. — A former Louisiana State University student charged in the hazing death of a fraternity pledge is accused of deleting hundreds of files from his cellphone just before authorities could search it.

The Advocate reports prosecutors on Wednesday requested Google provide all information, content and deleted data from accounts associated with Matthew Naquin’s phone between August 2017 and that December.

He’s charged with negligent homicide in the 2017 death of 18-year-old Georgia native Max Gruver after a Phi Delta Theta hazing ritual requiring pledges to chug hard liquor.

Authorities say the 21-year-old Texas native erased the content on the same night authorities were granted the right to search it, and refused to provide the password. The FBI unlocked it in March.

Google generally complies with court-approved search warrants in criminal cases.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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