Hazing News

Editorial: Injustice in Pennsylvania: We condemn the decision of Judge Pamela Ruest

Moderator: My editorial stance is this. Judge Pamela Ruest is wrong in ignoring the serious verdicts in the Baruch College fraternity sentencing of four senior members last week as she makes this catastrophic poor judgment call. Not only is it a travesty that thanks to Ms. Ruest this Magistrate Allen Sinclair is in position to duplicate his previous flawed decision to toss the most serious charges, but she has probably eliminated any possibility this case can be tried before a jury. I editorially condemn the poor legal decisions of both Magistrate Sinclair and Judge Ruest. Injustice in Pennsylvania this time has been served. At the very least a trained attorney–something Sinclair is not–needs to assess the charges put forth by the prosecution.

From WJAC 6

BELLEFONTE, PA – A Centre County judge has denied an attempt to remove the presiding magisterial judge from the Penn State Beta Theta Pi hazing case.

After a preliminary hearing in September, Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed the felony charges filed against the fraternity members charged in the death of a pledge, Timothy Piazza.

The prosecutor, former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, claimed Sinclair had made a mistake, and not only refiled the felony counts, but also asked for another presiding judge to be assigned to the case.

This week, Centre County Judge Pamela Ruest ruled against that request, saying there wasn’t sufficient evidence presented that Sinclair had made a legal mistake.

That means Sinclair remains in the position and he may again decide on whether to dismiss the refiled felony counts from the first set ofof criminal charges.

A second set of charges were later filed.

The state Attorney General’s officeOffice recently took over the prosecution of the Beta Theta Pi case and said they’ll first do an independent review-before before deciding how to proceed.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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