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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

College Initiation Tradition a Crime

Posted on in Criminal Defense

The New York Times did a story about three former college students being acquitted of their hazing charges in the death of a Cornell University student last year. Max Haskin, Ben Mann, and Edward Williams were accused of making George Desdunes drink dangerous amounts of alcohol during an initiation ritual for a fraternity. They were charged with hazing in the first degree and unlawfully dealing with a child, since Desdunes was underage.

The ritual included taking Desdunes and another male student to a house, where they were tied down and blindfolded. They were questioned about the history of the fraternity, and a wrong answer lead to a shot of vodka. As a result of the events of that evening, Desdunes was found dead on a couch with blood-alcohol levels of 0.356.

The defense made their case around the facts that it was unknown to the defendants how much Desdunes had been drinking prior to the ”kidnapping”, and that he could have stopped the game at any point. Desdunes& mother is devastated by the court's decision, and she thinks the defendants should have been punished for killing her son.

The Illinois Hazing Act states the following:

Hazing. A person commits hazing who knowingly requires the performance of any act by a student or other person in a school, college, university, or other educational institution of this State, for the purpose of induction or admission into any group, organization, or society associated or connected with that institution if:

(a) the act is not sanctioned or authorized by that educational institution; and (b) the act results in bodily harm to any person.

Sentence. Hazing is a Class A misdemeanor, except hazing that results in death or great bodily harm is a Class 4 felony.

If you or a loved one are facing a situation similar to this one or any other situation where legal help is required, get an experienced attorney to aid you. For qualified legal assistance, contact a dedicated Illinois criminal defense lawyer today.

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