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Hazing News

In the News: Mercer County (N.J.) Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini

Link to Daily Texan story (slow load but worth reading) with defense of Mr. Bocchini’s decision pending trial evidence display.

Or just read excerpt below.

Because the investigation is ongoing, no details are available as to why the administrators, in addition to the students, were indicted.

However, Alan Bowman, a criminal defense attorney who practices in Newark, New Jersey, but lives in Mercer County, said he believes there was probably enough evidence that the administrators had a high degree of knowledge and could have prevented the Rider incident.

“One of the main issues here is what took [the indictment] from civil to criminal,” Bowman said.

Hazing crimes differ from state to state. Travis County Attorney David Escamilla said that in his more than 20 years of work, he has not seen a case in which administrators were indicted for hazing. But he did say if a case like this were to arise, it would probably be because a university faculty or staff member had knowledge of a hazing incident and failed to report it to the dean of students.

Escamilla is currently investigating charges resulting from a potential hazing incident that ended with the death of UT freshman and Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledge Tyler Cross in the fall of 2006. UT’s administration and President William Powers are also conducting their own investigation.

Escamilla said there is no timetable for these types of investigations, but they do take a while due to the large amount of people usually involved.

In 2006, after a year-long investigation, a Travis County grand jury issued 21 indictments to three UT students and members of the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity after the death of 18-year-old UT student Phanta “Jack” Phoummarath.

His decision to prosecute: link

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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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