Blog : Media

Amid Alleged Broomstick Hazing Ritual Scandal, Damascus High Principal Resigns, JV Football Coach & Athletic Director Placed on Leave

When a JV high school football team,  thought to be like a family, allegedly commits the tradition of “broomstick” hazing to new teammates, the story is going to draw ongoing negative media attention…

Yesterday, the principal of Damascus High School in Maryland announced her resignation as a result of the alleged October 2018 “broomstick” hazing and rape of junior varsity football team members at the school.

This announcement follows news that the Damascus High’s JV football coach, Vincent Colbert, who was reported as the first school official to know about the attack (and that the school system waited hours to alert police) was placed on leave last month as part of the ongoing investigation…and later last night, a letter to coaches announced that the athletic director was also put on leave.

This heartbreaking news of hazing and sexual assault in high school is reminiscent of the suit School Violence Law & The Fierberg National Law Group filed on behalf of the Ooltewah High School rape victim who was sodomized with a pool-cue by teammates.

Read our first Blog article regarding the Damascus alleged hazing here.

Follow the ongoing coverage at The Washington Post, WTOP  and CBS NEWS.

 

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North Carolina Struggles with Gun Violence on College & University Campuses

Image result for unc shootingTwo people were killed and four others were injured yesterday when Trystan Andrew Terrell, a 22-year-old former history major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (“UNCC”), opened fire in a classroom building on the campus.

Sadly, this type of violence is not new to NC campuses. Since 2014, there have been multiple other shootings on or near NC colleges and universities – including the shooting of Winston-Salem State University student, Najee Baker, who was shot and killed at a social event at Wake Forest University.

The entire staff at School Violence Law and The Fierberg National Law Group extend our deepest condolences to the students and families affected by this tragic event.

Read More About North Carolina Gun Violence on Campuses at USA Today, CNN and More.

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The Kids Are Still Dying – How Do We Prosecute Hazing?

Image result for greek lifeThis school year has included a number of hazing injuries and deaths across the country – in both the K12 schools and on college campuses.

After the recent alleged hazing death of University of Buffalo (UB) student & Sigma Pi pledge, Sebastian Serafin-Bazan,  School Violence Law and The Fierberg National Law Group attorney, Douglas Fierberg, was interviewed for The Buffalo News article regarding his expertise in hazing tragedies.

Unlike the old days when a “Frat Mom” ran the show, most fraternity houses operating today lack adult supervision and instead rely on a management structure that leaves 20- and 21-year-olds in charge, Fierberg said.

“Time and time again, that management structure has failed,” he said. “It’s deadly.”

– Read The Buffalo News Full Article Here.

 

 

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New study confirms that fraternity men and athletes are committing more sexual assaults than are those in the general student population

Repeat Rapists on Campus

A new study confirms that fraternity men and athletes are committing more sexual assaults than are those in the general student population — and that repeat offenders are a major problem.

 

Researchers have, many times over, confirmed a sobering fact: fraternity members tend to commit rape much more frequently than their non-Greek-life peers. They’ve also documented that serial offenders account for many campus sexual assaults.

But a new study quantifies in a staggering way the prevalence with which men in fraternities and on sports teams engage in sex crimes on campuses — and how repeat rapists are to blame for a vast majority of these incidents. The report suggests that the vast majority of assaults involving alcohol are committed by serial perpetrators.

Experts on campus sexual violence said that these new data support the idea that administrators should kick out students they’ve found responsible for rape. And, they said, it demonstrates need for more targeted education — especially among the men and groups who are committing the most sexual assaults.

Three professors — from Union University in Tennessee, Bowling Green State University and University of Redlands — used data from the Core Alcohol and Drug Survey, or CORE, developed by the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The group there helps institutions figure out students’ attitudes toward drug and alcohol consumption.

The researchers looked at survey data from more than 12,600 male students at 49 colleges and universities in one Midwestern state that was not named. The institutions included in the sample were both two- and four-year colleges.

A little more than 5 percent of those men self-reported that they had committed a sexual assault when alcohol was involved. This matched other literature, which has put the percentage of college men who committed a broader range of sexual crimes between 6 and 11 percent.

Of those who sexually assaulted someone while under the influence, it was more common for them to do it again rather than just once. The researchers found that nearly 3 percent of the men in the overall study committed assault twice or more when alcohol was a factor.

“If you have a man who has been accused of sexual assault and you … find him responsible, it makes sense to expel him from the institution, not necessarily just give them educational sanctions,” said John D. Foubert, dean of the College of Education at Union and one of the report’s authors. “It’s cutting down on the rate of rape at the institution drastically.”

More significant was how many more incidents could be attributed to recurring rapists rather than one-time offenders.

The authors of the study weren’t precise with these data, given that students in the original CORE survey could report a range of how many assaults they had committed (again with alcohol involved). For instance, students could report if they assaulted someone three to five times — in this case, the researchers counted that in their report as an average of four assaults per person.

The researchers documented approximately 2,071 sexual assaults — of those, roughly 950 assaults, or about 46 percent of the incidents, were committed by students who admitted to raping 10 or more times.

S. Daniel Carter, president of Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, which consults with colleges and universities on sexual assaults and federal policy, said this was the most striking figure.

“Removing those repeat perpetrators from the population is the only solution in my point of view,” Carter said.

As the researchers note, the men didn’t always classify their acts as rape, per se. Other studies and interviews with men have found sometimes they consider their victim saying no to be a game or a way to spice up the encounter.

Being associated with a fraternity or an athletics team also had a positive correlation with alcohol-fueled rapes, the study found. Heads of fraternities were less likely to commit alcohol-related assaults than just members. The opposite was true for sports teams — the leaders of the teams reported more assaults.

This reporter provided Todd Shelton, a spokesman for the North-American Interfraternity Conference, with a copy of the study, but Shelton said by email he did not have a chance to review it.

“I will say sexual violence has no place on any campus or in the fraternity experience,” Shelton wrote in his email. “NIC fraternities are committed to creating safer campus communities and recently adopted new health and safety guidelines including banning hard alcohol at fraternity houses and events to create a safer environment for members and guests.”

A previous study by Foubert shows that men who joined fraternities were just as likely to have committed sexual violence prior to college as men who didn’t join a fraternity. But the same study showed that fraternity men were three more likely to assault women than their counterparts, suggesting that fraternity culture was the driving factor for the assaults.

Institutions should more aggressively focus on teaching students in “high-risk” environments such as fraternities and sports teams, rather than just the general population, Foubert said. He said bystander training — educating students to intervene when they see their peers are about to commit a heinous act — has been proven to be effective. Foubert called for more research with a larger national sample, noting their information was from a single state. He said it would also be beneficial to interview directly admitted rapists to learn their motives and how they behave.

“They don’t define their behavior as rape — they sometimes define it as seduction,” Foubert said. “I think it would be helpful [to know] what their techniques are to alert women.”

Colleges and universities trying to stamp out sexual predators could learn from law enforcement efforts to prevent terrorism, said Peter F. Lake, a law professor and director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University.

Lake used this analogy — the public shouldn’t write off fraternities in total, just as they shouldn’t consider all people of a certain race to be terrorists. Institutions should partner with fraternities to help locate bad apples in a group or the misbehaving fraternities on campus. He said many times, the fraternity members, most of whom are not raping women, don’t have the knowledge or skills to respond to “serious psychopathic behavior.”

“If you eliminate the ones that are doing that from the culture, then the culture will thrive,” Lake said.

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Potential Hazing Causes SUNY Buffalo to Suspend Fraternity and Sorority Activities

The University at Buffalo has suspended all fraternities and sororities and is investigating a “potential” hazing incident at the Sigma Pi fraternity house that has left a student in critical condition.

An 18-year-old student, Sebastian Serafin-Bazan, ended up in critical condition at an area hospital after going into cardiac arrest.

The national Sigma Pi Fraternity has now been involved in three incidents in the past six months……including the death of Ohio University student, Collin Wiant, after an alleged hazing incident.

The New York Times Full Article Here.

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month Key Note Speaker, Miss Michigan 2018, Emily Sioma

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence and School Violence Law and The Fierberg National Law Group was incredibly honored to be one of the Solace & Solidarity: Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence sponsors. #SAAM #IAsk NSVRC

 

 

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Former Penn State University fraternity brothers sentenced in connection with the death of Timothy Piazza during a hazing ritual

Most serious charges dismissed in Timothy Piazza hazing death

Former Penn State University fraternity brothers have been sentenced in connection with the 2017 hazing death of Timothy Piazza.

This is the first time jail sentences have been handed out in the case, though there is a possibility a judge may amend the sentences to house arrest, a source familiar with the case said.

CNN Article Here.

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Michael Deng Hazing Death: Court Rules Fraternity & Former National President Liable

The Fierberg National Law Group and School Violence Law just obtained legal finding of liability against the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc. and its former national director, Andy Meng, for the 2013 hazing death of Baruch College student, Michael Deng.

This is a loss for the national fraternity and a win for the cause.

See our Press Release and Breaking News.

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“Experts call such victim-blaming ‘tortured rationalizations.'”

See the source imageA California father believes his 18-year-old son’s alcohol-related death was the result of a fraternity hazing ritual. The Orange County coroner’s office said Monday, Noah Domingo died from accidental alcohol poisoning.

Noah’s blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit, reports CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas. The UC Irvine freshman was found unresponsive after a party in January. His father said Noah was taking part in a dangerous and longstanding fraternity ritual. His death has already prompted Sigma Alpha Epsilon to close its chapter at UC Irvine indefinitely.

In a statement to CBS News, Dale Domingo said, “We have discovered the horrifying truth about fraternity hazing.” He contends the fraternity was conducting its “big brother night” ritual where “Noah was compelled to guzzle a so-called ‘family drink’ to become part of his big brother’s family.” He said, “It is why fraternities openly refer to this type of ritual as being one of the ‘deadly nights.'”

Authorities said Domingo died at about 3:30 in the morning, but the initial 911 call was some six hours later. The person who called 911 told the operator “he just drank, he just drank too much.”

Disputing the account in the 911 call, Noah’s father said his son did not just drink too much. He said experts call such victim-blaming “tortured rationalizations.”

Authorities are still investigating the circumstances leading to Domingo’s death and have not confirmed that hazing played a role.
In a statement, the university offered its “deepest sympathies to the Domingo family” and said “his death brings an urgent focus on alcohol and substance abuse.”

The focus on fraternity hazing has intensified in recent years with the deaths of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza and Florida State University fraternity member Andrew Coffey.

Just like other families impacted by college drinking deaths, Noah’s father said he will honor his son by doing everything he can to end hazing by fraternities and their members.

CBS News reached out to Sigma Alpha Epsilon regarding the confirmation of Domingo’s cause of death, but have not heard back.

©  2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. See the Full Report Here.

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