Note at 10:48 a.m: a reporter just informed me that Rider U’s Dean Campbell will appear in court today. None of the published articles I have scoured seem to have found any involvement on his part or that of Greek adviser Ada Badgley that would merit these serious charges. It is unlikely today’s news about the court appearance will involve anything more than the expected “not guilty” plea by Dean Campbell’s lawyer on behalf of his client. No doubt Dean Campbell will be advised by counsel to make no statement. At some point let us hope the justice system in New Jersey lets the public know where it has found “reckless disregard” in the carrying out of duties. I for one do not see the appropriateness of the charges based on what has come out the past couple days.
What I do have are questions, questions, questions.
1) What were the specific instructions given to those jurors who made the grand jury recommendation that Greek adviser Ada Badgley and Campbell be charged? As we learn below at the bottom of this column, “Grand juries are operated by prosecutors, who decide what evidence to present to the grand jury.” This prosecutor keeps saying in effect, don’t go blaming me, it’s the grand jury who decided to press charges. Uh huh. OK, tell us more. What exactly is in the transcript regarding the prosecutor’s instructions to the grand jury? What exactly was said by Prosecutor Bocchini, prosecutorâ€™s Detective Robert Crusen and Lawrence Detective Joseph Lech IV, the case investigators.?
Most of all, what EVIDENCE was presented BY THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY that led the grand jury to conclude there was a reasonable basis to be the first case in history where hazing charges were levied against a Dean and Greek adviser who had no membership connections whatsoever with the Phi Tau chapter? I’m not saying the evidence isn’t there. I am saying it isn’t out there yet in front of the public.
2) Why did it go that high up in the Rider administration and not stop with the resident assistant?
3) For that matter, why did charges stop with the adviser and Dean? Did the grand jury consider going higher, say to the level of the college’s president? Again, we come back to wanting to know exactly what that grand jury was told when it was charged with responsibility for determining the course of this investigation into Rider student Gary DeVercelly’s death.
4) Was there any evidence that the Phi Tau pledges knew or were told the “Big Little” party would involve a bottle exchange or expectations that the newcomers would be expected to drink? Go back about a year or two or three prior to the death. Have any Phi Tau pledges ever been treated in local hospitals for acute alcohol poisoning?
Asking questions is easy. How about answers? They come hard, no?
Here is what you may not know.
“People also are summoned to serve on grand juries. A grand jury decides whether there is enough evidence for a person to be brought to trial for a crime. Most criminal cases begin with a decision by a grand jury to indict a defendant. An indictment is an official, written accusation charging someone with a crime. An indictment is not proof of a crime.
Grand juries consist of 23 people who typically meet once a week for 16 weeks. Grand juries are operated by prosecutors, who decide what evidence to present to the grand jury. Unlike criminal or civil trials, grand jury proceedings are not open to the public.”
Hank Nuwer, moderator