Penn State head calls student's death sickening

Caroline Beck
May 6, 2017

Penn State permanently banned Beta Theta Pi on March 30, accusing it of a "persistent pattern" of excessive drinking, drug use and hazing.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced the results of the grand jury investigation this morning, three months after the February 4 death of Piazza, a 19-year-old Penn State sophomore, according to The Patriot-News. Prosecutors said Piazza consumed enormous amounts of alcohol as part of a hazing ritual and that members waited almost 12 hours after he first fell to call paramedics.

"Text messages and a chat group called "we f- moms" revealed members allegedly asking about buying alcohol, including for pledges, and collecting money for their so-called 'slush fund, '" reported NBC which added that "during the pledge night event, the recruits were required to drink various types of alcohol at stations as part of a contest known as 'the gauntlet'".

Jim Piazza said that the death of his son was the result of "a disobedience of law, a disregard of moral values which was then exacerbated by a egregious acts of self-preservation".

Beta Theta Pi has been disbanded at Penn State University. We reached out to Beta Theta Pi for comment and will update upon getting a response.

A Penn State fraternity and eight of its members were charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter in the hazing death of a student, the local district attorney's office said.

"It is numbing how an atmosphere that endangers the well-being and safety of another person could occur within an organization that prided itself on commitment to each other and to its community", Barron said.

A further 10 students face charges that include tampering with evidence, reckless endangerment, hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors.

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Eight of the fraternity brothers and the chapter itself were charged with involuntary manslaughter. The next morning, he fell down the same steps and was unconscious when help was finally summoned.

"Although for the entirety of this investigation I have not been notified of any sorority being present, this provides a call to action, not just to the fraternity community, but to all of us at Penn State", Saper said in a written statement. The 19-year-old had suffered a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen and fatal head injury, according to Philly.com, which reports that defense lawyers for students at the party said the students did not know that Piazza was in danger at the time of the fall. Piazza had toxic levels of alcohol in his body and was badly injured in a series of falls, authorities said.

His parents, Jim and Evelyn Piazza, stood by as the charges were announced, according to an Associated Press report from the news conference Friday.

But Parks Miller lambasted that argument Friday, saying that video taken from the fraternity house's extensive security system disproved those claims and others.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller disclosed details about the events surrounding Piazza's death.

Piazza tried to get up around 3.20am but fell backward and hit his head on the wood floor, the report said.

Piazza, 19, of Lebanon, New Jersey, died February 4, two days after he was injured while pledging the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Around 7:15 a.m., video shows Piazza "staggering" toward the basement steps. He was discovered in the basement at about 10am. Some members tried to dress him, cleaned blood from his face and discussed destroying evidence, including the surveillance footage, according to the report. Empathy and compassion are vital to who we are as Penn Staters, citizens and members of society.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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