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Hazing News

Rider defendants apply for pretrial intervention, hoping to clear records

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Rider hazing defendants apply for PTI program
Posted by The Times of Trenton September 10, 2007 10:59AM
Categories: Courts

Two of three Rider University student defendants who are charged with aggravated hazing in the drinking death of a fraternity pledge appeared in court Monday and are applying to enter the Pretrial Intervention Program.

Freshman Gary DeVercelly Jr., 18, died in March after drinking heavily during an initiation ritual.

Lawyers for Dominic Olsen, 21, the pledge master of now defunct Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, and Adriano DiDonato, 22, told Superior Court Judge Mitchell Ostrer that their clients are applying for PTI, which, if sucessfully completed will allow the criminal charge against them to be expunged. The terms of their admission to the program, which is routinely offered to first-time, non-violent offenders, will be set at their next status conference on Oct. 1.

“I’m just trying to finish school and graduate,” said Olsen, who is a senior at Rider.

In addition to the three students, a Mercer County grand jury had indicted two university administrators, Ada Badgley, director of Greek Life, and Anthony Campbell, the dean of students, sending shockwaves through colleges and universities nationwide. However, the Mercer County Prosecutor dismissed the charges against the administrators last month.

A third student who also was charged in the hazing, Michael Torney, 21, is expected to appear in court next week.

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--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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