Moderator: The following feature was written by veteran reporter Christine Vendel covering the Tim Piazza case. Because of unprecedented videotaping of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, this case is of maximum importance. I am pleased she used the database as a small aid to her coverage of 15 hazing cases in Pennsylvania.
By Christine Vendel
There have been 15 deaths in Pennsylvania where hazing was alleged, including the death of Timothy Piazza earlier this year, according to a national database.
The death of Timothy Piazza, 19, earlier this year after pledge night activities inside the Beta Theta Pi House at Penn State University thrust the topic of hazing back into the national spotlight
Piazza suffered severe head and internal injuries after a series of falls that were triggered, police and prosecutors believe, by his participation in an alcohol-chugging obstacle course for new pledges known as the gauntlet.
This Thursday, the criminal case against 18 members of the Beta house who allegedly organized the pledge night “hazing” activities for Piazza will take center stage in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
Defense attorneys for five men facing the most serious sets of charges – including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment – tried to poke holes in the prosecution’s case during hearings last month.
But with 10 more defendants to go, (two have waived their right to this step) Magisterial District Judge Allen Sinclair continued the case to Thursday and Friday of this week, Aug. 10 and 11.