Many Pennsylvania residents will remember the death of a 19-year-old Baruch College freshman during an alleged hazing incident. The death took place in a Poconos home rented by the fraternity Pi Delta Psi. That incident and the resulting loss of life has led to a plan to bring criminal charges against as many as 37 individuals.
An investigation into matter suggests that the incident began with a hazing ritual called "glass ceiling." The young man was blindfolded and made to wear a heavy backpack while others repeatedly tackled him. When he lost consciousness, he was allegedly carried inside the home while fraternity members searched the web for guidance on how to address his symptoms. It is also alleged that certain individuals took actions to hide evidence and minimize the fraternity's role in the matter.
The young man was taken to the hospital, where he lost his life the next day. He was not the only individual who underwent hazing rituals that weekend, but investigators claim that he was singled out and treated much more harshly than the others. The college took swift disciplinary action, banning the fraternity from the campus. The national fraternity organization also withdrew its affiliation with the chapter involved in the death.
A grand jury has recommended that charges be filed against 37 people who are connected to the death, including a former president of the fraternity who was not even present during the incident. The first five individuals have been charged with conspiracy, hazing and hindering apprehension. Pennsylvania authorities plan to issue the charges in waves, from the least to the most serious.
Source: mlive.com, "Five charged in Pennsylvania fraternity pledge hazing death", Sept. 15, 2015