Though it is generally officially outlawed by many college campuses, hazing has become a commonplace act among sports teams, social fraternities and sororities, and many other organizations. The tasks required of new members can range from harmless to embarrassing to downright dangerous, as many young people and their parents have found out over the years. In one particularly troubling recent case, an 18-year-old student from Penn State died after committing suicide following an especially intense series of initiation rituals associated with the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Now, his father is suing the university and others involved in the death of his son.
The young man who died in 2014, Marquise Braham, jumped to his death from a New York parking garage after the hazing, which he had previously discussed with his family. He was in attendance at the Penn State satellite campus in Logan Township, Pennsylvania. The lawsuit names both the school and the fraternity itself as culpable, as well as two resident advisors and two former fraternity members. In the suit, it alleges that one of the resident advisors, or RAs, who are typically in place to protect students, had encouraged Braham to join in on the hazing, and had been aware of the mental suffering that he endured because of the fraternity rituals prior to his suicide.
Some of the hazing rituals that Braham was subjected to include needing to gut and skin squirrels, consuming two kegs of beer and filling two trash cans with vomit along with other pledges, and perhaps most egregious, being commanded to choose between “snorting cocaine and being videotaped being sodomized”. Following Braham’s suicide, the fraternity was suspended from campus, though further actions against the students involved have not been disclosed. The incident is still undergoing investigation by the state attorney general, and Braham’s father’s suit is another layer on top of this already tragic and complex case.
If you believe you have been the victim of a similar situation yourself, or if a student is being charged with hazing or related crimes, it is important to seek legal representation immediately. Braham’s death and experience is tragic, but if you were involved in any similar situations, it is in your best interest to quickly acquire a successful attorney.
This is a serious offense that can land an individual with serious consequences, and should not be overlooked just because it was part of a school system and additionally under their jurisdiction. For expert legal counsel, you can trust us at Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox to represent you and your case with the utmost care and expertise. Call us today for a free phone consultation at 814-833-1987 to begin discussing your situation, to learn what your options are and how we at Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox can help. With many years of experience, we are the best criminal defense lawyers for your case.