An 18 year old student at Penn State University(Altoona branch) committed suicide in 2014 as a result of an alleged hazing incident.
What caused his death? Hazing or something else?
The statewide grand jury decided not to file criminal charges in this tragedy.
That is not the end of this matter however.
Because the family of the deceased victim has filed a lawsuit against the school and the fraternity for the hazing incidents.
A child’s suicide is really every college parent’s worst nightmare.
Just review this newspaper article about the findings of the grand jury to see why there are more unanswered questions than answered ones in this tragedy:
HARRISBURG — A statewide investigating grand jury has determined there is no evidence to support criminal charges in connection with the suicide death of Marquise Braham.
While the report details hazing incidents by Phi Sigma Kappa, the grand jury also recommended no criminal charges be filed based on conflicting testimony and direct evidence.
Braham, 18, a student at the Altoona campus of Penn State University, committed suicide in March 2014 by jumping from a building in Uniondale, N.Y. The Office of Attorney General undertook an investigation of the incident amid allegations that Braham prior to his death had been subjected to hazing while pledging the fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa.
The report underscores many ongoing issues in the pledging process of Phi Sigma Kappa. The grand jury said the report should “shine a light on what can happen to vulnerable 18 year olds when they go off to college.”
Investigations have been ongoing since March 2014.
“It was not until they were subpoenaed to the Statewide Grand Jury that the truth could be dragged out of them (fraternity members),” the Grand Jury report states.
Maybe the grand jury believed that they got the truth of matter but Pittsburgh wrongful death, Medical malpractice, Car accident and slip and fall attorney Bernie Tully doesn’t see it that way.
I say that because the grand jury did not answer the specific question on everyone’s mind.
Did the hazing incidents cause the 18-year-old student to commit suicide or not?
That question does not seem to be answered by the grand jury. Instead what they determined was that there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against anyone in this incident.
That is a lot different than deciding if the hazing resulted in the child’s death.
Pittsburgh wrongful death and car accident attorney Bernie Tully thinks it is important to bear in mind the following: a statewide grand jury deals with a criminal investigation. The standard of proof for a conviction in a criminal case is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
However in the civil wrongful death case that was filed by the family of the deceased, the standard of proof is much lower namely by a preponderance of the evidence. That just means more likely than not.
See the difference?
Thanks for reading
Bernie the attorney.