Centre County Grand Jury Report Blasts Penn State over Fraternities

BELLEFONTE -- A grand jury report blasts Penn State University and its handling of hazing at fraternities over the last decade and makes recommendations on how the university can improve after the death of a pledge this year.

The Centre County district attorney just released the findings of a grand jury, looking into the fraternity culture at Penn State.  It found a shocking history of hazing and says that must change.

The grand jury says even the moves Penn State made to crack down on fraternities after the death of Timothy Piazza this year aren't working.

That grand jury is recommending significant changes at Penn State and to state law.

"No one should die just because they want to join a fraternity. That shouldn't be OK. It's not acceptable. It shouldn't be acceptable," said Richard Graham, parent of former PSU fraternity member.

With a former Penn State fraternity member and family of other alleged hazing victims in the front row of a news conference in Bellefonte, the Centre County district attorney revealed findings from a grand jury report.

That report includes recommendations going forward regarding hazing and excessive alcohol use by fraternities at Penn State University.

The grand jury report questions why Penn State labeled Beta Theta Pi as a model fraternity in recent years when there were indications of problems there dating back a decade.

That's where pledge Timothy Piazza died back in February after a night of heavy drinking.

"They were horrified by the failure of a system that they felt didn't protect and hadn't protected others when they found out about other cases in the past at Penn State," said Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller.

The grand jury says even new rules implemented at Penn State after that aren't enforced, pointing out violations even on parents weekend -- violations that included parents themselves.

Here are some of the recommendations:

  • A new Pennsylvania law called "Tim's Law" with stricter penalties for hazing.
  • Stiffer state laws on giving alcohol to minors.
  • A pledge's bill of rights for new frat members.
  • Establishing a hazing hotline much better that one already available.
  • A rule where hazing equals expulsion at Penn State.

"There's an interview of me saying, you know, 'death is imminent up at Penn State unless there are some serious changes," said James Vivenzio, former PSU student.

Newswatch 16 was there back in 2015 when Vivenzio visited the Kappa Delta Row fraternity house, just off Penn State's main campus. He has sued the university claiming his complaints about hazing were ignored.

"Penn State, you screwed up. You know we are here today due to that. It's time to take responsibility and move on. We shouldn't be here at all."

"You want to make them think twice about engaging in behavior, make it student-conduct punishable individually. Start saying if you're engaging in hazing, not only are we going to learn about it, but we're passing it on to police and you are going to be charged criminally, because that is, by the way, an actual crime," said the D.A.

The grand jury report includes testimony from a Penn State administrator who says the university has had a lot of resistance to its new rules from alumni and even parents of frat brothers.

In a statement released after the new conference, Penn State said:

"Widespread problems of binge drinking and hazing persist at universities across the country. It's not a solution to simply point an accusatory finger."

The school went on to say it has been working to address the problems plaguing institutions nationwide.

20 comments

  • thetooloftools

    Penn State doesn’t take responsibility for anything. Just like reeling in the fraternity system The Paterno family and Penn State scream for transparency in the Jerry Sasndusky Scandal yet both flatly refuse to disclose how much Joe Patrno was paid for FUNDRAISING. [I’m guess conservatively that it was in the tens of millions of dollars]. How did the Paterno family donate over a million dollars to The Se and Joe Paterno Library at Penn state on what he was making coaching football?
    THE MATH DOESN’T WORK.
    The family screams that Joe knew nothing while everyone else around him was sentenced to prison time.
    And yet they are talking about putting his statue back up?
    For a school of higher learning the Penn State administration either isn’t learning or else doesn’t want to know as long as the college keeps expanding, the money keeps rolling in, and the “We Are’s” are buying anything they tell them.
    Does anyone see a pattern her or is it just me?

  • Cynthia Weaver

    Makes me sick that after two parents lost their son, other parents aren’t happy about the new hazing rules being enforced!!! I hope that any student involved in a hazing incident is arrested and kicked out of school! How many more kids have to die or get hurt before it ends???

  • El-Ma

    Oh, and the lambasting from the Grand Jury is going to do what?

    We’ve seen how Penn State responds when it’s under scrutiny and harshly criticized. And, it keeps on cranking out useless grads, self-important pledges, filthy pedophiles, and the like. Penn State – you, too, can pay a fortune, risk hazing, and leave with a useless degree!

  • Just saying

    I would rather roll around naked in a bathtub filled with shards of glass and razorblades while violently sodomizing myself with a weedwacker than I would to admit I’m a Pennstater!

  • Unmasking PSU

    And the conga line of sickening PR continues to grow. WE ARE BECAUSE HE WAS indeed. Now he’s the devil’s hand-puppet.

  • Beansoup

    Horny Valley probably has worse secrets than pedo sandusky and frat boys playing touch butt. And that’s bad, very bad. Let’s get that Frackville Chief of Police to investigate. He goes in head first.

    • Plumprump

      How bout that girardville cop that stepped down after he was caught masturbating in the municipal office? I heard Ashland made him their Chief. Makes sense since they had that DARE counseler who liked to private message young boys about sexy time for mayor.

    • Coolsunglasseskane

      Don’t forget about that horny pedo roamer in Mt Carmel that followed a child into her home while parents were present. Bold pedo roamer. Wnep refused to report on this one. At least he got arrested eventually. Lots of people in the area look the other way. Must be lots of pedos in positions of power.

      • La Tarone

        What is wrong with that area? They have the dumbest coaches, loser school administrators, and the fattest not-for-profit county developers. Such idiots. So ugly too

      • Bug

        Developers? They’re much more like scammers. Ever hear of all that shady nonsense about the land on top of the Gordon mountain??! Definitely a bunch of chubby guys though

    • RJELQ

      its just school teachers who build in the skook. They love the corrupt system there.Then they take to Facebook and post 50 pictures a day of their kids with pennstate gear on. some with starter jackets! SMH!

  • Wayne S

    What do you expect from a place that harbored a sick sick man for 25 years. Its nothing but a scam, the entire psu system. but as usual, small town pa folk get fooled and look the other way!

    • Wayne S

      unfortunately the most skilled DA in centre county history, disappeared in early 2015 and was never seen since. unreal what goes on in here.

    • Wayne S

      unfortunately the most skilled DA in centre county history, disappeared in early 2005 and was never seen since. unreal what goes on in here.

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