Three fraternity brothers charged over student’s hazing death at Michigan university

Phat Nguyen died from acute alcohol consumption after attending off-campus party in East Lansing, Michigan

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 10 June 2022 18:33 BST
(Facebook)

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Three Michigan State University fraternity members have been charged over the November 2021 hazing death of a student who was found unconscious and covered in vomit in a basement.

Phat Nguyen died from acute alcohol consumption after attending an off-campus party in East Lansing, Michigan, at the now-disbanded Pi Alpha Phi fraternity’s house.

Ethan Tin Cao, Andrew Hoang Nguyen, and Hoang John Huu Pham have each been charged with one felony count of hazing resulting in death and three misdemeanor counts of hazing resulting in physical injury, according to court records.

They could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. All three have been released on $5,000 bonds.

Nguyen died last November after going to a welcome party at the fraternity house, while three other “pledges” also passed out and were hospitalised.

An autopsy confirmed that 21-year-old Nguyen died from alcohol intoxication.

East Lansing Police responded to a call for medical assistance at about am on 20 November and found four students “passed out,” one of whom was “unresponsive and not breathing” they said at the time.

Police affidavits in the case say that the event was a “crossing party” that celebrated the four pledges becoming full members of the fraternity.

“At this party, the victims had alcohol poured down their throats and drank until incapacitated. Once the victims were unconscious, party attendees drew on them, slapped their hands and buttocks, and put food on the victims,” the affidavits state.

“These actions led to the hospitalization of (three) ‘crossing’ members and the death of (one).”

Investigators say that there is video of Andrew Nguyen pouring alcohol into the pledges’ mouths, while Mr Cao was the fraternity’s “pledge master,” and Mr Pham was the organisation’s president.

Prosecutors say that Mr Cao and Mr Pham are implicated because of their positions within the fraternity and allege that they “knew these actions were taking place and knew the nature of the (crossing) party.”

The Independent has reached out to MSU for comment.

It was made illegal in Michigan in 2004 for any individual to be hazed by someone affiliated with an educational institution.

In another highly-publicised hazing incident, new surveillance footage of a University of Missouri fraternity party that left a student permanently brain damaged shows him being handed a tube of beer to drink before he passes out unconscious on a couch.

Danny Santulli, 19, was forced to drink a bottle of Tito’s vodka and force-fed beer at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house during the “Pledge Dad Reveal Night” in October 2021, in video obtained by Good Morning Ameria.

Mr Santulli is seen being led shirtless through the house by other fraternity brothers before the drinking episode begins.

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