Former PSU Frat Member Is Suing Everybody And Their Mama
You’ll probably remember the story involving PSU and the KDR frat not too long ago. Some really messed up stuff went down. (read more here)
Now, a former member of that fraternity is lawyering up.
James Vivenzio, through his attorney Aaron Freiwald, filed his lawsuit in Philadelphia County court on Monday. In addition to Penn State University and the Penn State KDR chapter, he is also suing the national KDR organization and two Penn State fraternity governance organizations.
“When I talked to members during KDR rush, they talked about brotherhood and honor,” said Vivenzio during a Monday morning news conference. “But I learned the hard way, the painful way, that the fraternity house was a lot of things, but honorable was not one.”
Vivenzio went to the State College Police Department in January to report long-running issues of hazing, drug use and a private Facebook page that allegedly hosted photos of nude, unconscious women. Vivenzio now claims he went to the university eight months before talking to police, and that Penn State failed to investigate his claims.
He accuses the various defendants of negligence, battery, furnishing alcohol to minors, false imprisonment and fraud. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for “severe injuries and losses, both physically and psychologically,” according to court documents.
The lawsuit landed on the same day the national Kappa Delta Rho office expelled 38 members from PSU.
“What allowed these things to happen are the culture and beliefs of this individual fraternity, the KDR national organization, and the university itself,” Freiwald says.
Freiwald says Vivenzio and other KDR pledges were repeatedly harassed and hazed over the course of the Fall 2014 semester at Penn State, despite university and fraternity policies against hazing.
Freiwald and Viveznio claim pledges were regularly forced to drink excessive amounts of liquor against their will. They say pledges would sometimes be woken in the middle of the night to drink and exercise in the dark, or would be forced to collectively drink a bucket of liquor, hot sauce and urine.
On two separate occasions, Vivenzio was reportedly burned with a cigarette and punched multiple times in the face for attempting to get out of hazing rituals. When he called a university hazing hotline to report the alleged abuse, other fraternity members found out and began to search for “the rat” who reported the alleged abuse, Freiwald says.
Vivenzio says he began gathering evidence, including screenshots of numerous group text messages that allude to hazing and drug use, which he brought to Danny Shaha of the Penn State Office of Student Conduct.
“Penn State recklessly and unconscionably sat on the information Whistleblower Vivenzio had first brought to Penn State’s attention, causing further harm to Mr. Vivenzio and to untold numbers of students whose injuries and damages from hazing and sexual misconduct could have been prevented had Penn State acted quickly, responsibly and decisively,” the lawsuit reads.
When Vivenzio brought his allegations to police in January, it sparked a criminal investigation and media firestorm in State College, leading to headlines all across the country.
Now, a guy that claims he lives in the same town as Vivenzio, posted this to Reddit.
Whole thing is a total mess.