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John Burnius ordered to pay $1.5 million following hazing death

Plattsburgh, New York – December 5, 2007

The New York Supreme Court has awarded the parents of a Plattsburgh State University student who died during a hazing ritual, more than one million dollars in damages.

The parents of Walter Jennings filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the outlawed fraternity Psi Epsilon Chi and 14 former members. He died four years ago of water intoxication while pledging for the frat.

The court ordered one of the frat brother, John Burnius, to pay the family $1.5 million dollars in punitive damages.

13 other frat members settled with Jennings’ family out of court for undisclosed amounts.

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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