19-Year-Old Penn State Student Dies Of Severe Brain Injuries After Initiation Ritual


Penn State student, Timothy Piazza, a 19-year-old engineering student from New Jersey died less than 2 days after falling and severely hitting his head several times during an initiation acceptance ceremony at the Beta That Pi frat house in February.

“This wasn’t boys being boys,” Timothy's father, Jim Piazza, said Monday on the “Today” show. “This was men who intended to force feed lethal amounts of alcohol into other young men and what happened throughout the night was just careless disregard for human life.”

According to police, Piazza had a blood-alcohol level of 0.40 which is five times that of the legal limit after being supplied with drinks along with other pledges that evening.

"Nobody should consume that much alcohol,'' his mother Evelyn said. "That's torture."

A Grand Jury has since seized security camera footage from the frat house where Piazza is ordered to take pledges to guzzle alcohol quickly.  Piazza appeared very intoxicated and fell face-first down a flight of stares to the basement just before midnight.

As the evening progressed, Piazza's frat brothers made halfhearted and in some cases very counterproductive efforts to help him out.  One frat brother strongly advocated that they get Piazza some help and he was shoved into a wall and told to leave, according to the grand jury report.

The next morning, Piazza apparently fell down the steps once again and was not discovered until 10am when someone called 911 approximately 40 minutes later.  

Piazza died as a result of severe head injuries and suffered other injuries including internal bleeding from a shattered spleen.

Piazza's older brother received a call from Piazza's roommate asking him if he knew where his brother could be and just by chance he called the hospital when he learned that his brother was in the hospital and was "severely injured" and being airlifted to Hershey Medical Center.

"They said he had a non-recoverable brain injury," Jim Piazza said, recalling the moment he learned his son wasn't going to survive. "So we knew at that point he wasn't gonna make it. We were hoping that there would be something different, an outcome. They let us go in and see him. You know, we talked to him a little bit. We held his hand.

So far eighteen members of the fraternity have been charged in connection with Timothy's death.  The charges range from reckless endangerment to manslaughter.

As for the frat house itself, the university has put a permanent ban on the Beta Theta Pi house, which was regarded as a model fraternity at one time.  Since then the school has determined that there has been "persistent patterns" of excessive drinking, drug use and hazing.

Read more at Today.com


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