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Bad surprise at the trial of PSU Beta: CNN report

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Here is shocking testimony.  Why no 911 call???  –Moderator Hank Nuwer

 

Excerpt:

By Sara Ganim CNN

BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (CNN) — A security company hired by Penn State’s Interfraternity Council arrived at the party just after 19-year-old pledge Timothy Piazza fell down a flight of stairs and was fatally injured after an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual, a police detective testified Monday.

State College Police Det. Dave Scicchitano testified during the second day of a preliminary hearing that began last month. Eighteen students have been charged with a variety of offenses, from involuntary manslaughter and hazing to alcohol-related charges. Sixteen are the subject of the hearing, which will determine whether the cases go to trial……….

……Beta Theta Pi was supposed to be an alcohol-free fraternity, and employees from St. Moritz Security Services were supposed to be spot checking compliance, Scicchitano said.

Within minutes of Piazza’s 15-foot fall down a flight of stairs, uniformed staff from the security company arrived at the fraternity party, Scicchitano testified.

They were seen on frat house surveillance tape going toward the basement, where the brothers had just put pledges through a hazing ritual called “the gauntlet,” the detective testified.

He said they spent two to three minutes inside the frat house. One of the St. Moritz employees carried a clipboard with a checklist of things to look for, he said, such as kegs. There was a keg in the house but it was on the second floor, where St. Moritz employees did not go, Scicchitano said.

The prosecution and defense agreed the checks were not effective. District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller called them a “sham” and a “big failure.”

“They hired them to come in and out for a few minutes,” Parks Miller said.

However, after the testimony about the security company was heard, the judge struck the testimony from the record, due to the confidential nature of the grand jury process.

The Piazza family is still struggling with their son’s death, but is attending the proceeding.

Security company role a surprise to family

Monday’s testimony regarding the role of the security company was a surprise to Tom Kline, the attorney representing the Piazza family.

“We learned that for the first time today in the courtroom. That is something that needs significant additional exploration, and we intend to do it,” he said.

Frank Fina, the defense attorney for the fraternity president, argued that the security company and Penn State have more responsibility than the frat members who are charged.

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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