Three frat members sentenced to jail time in Penn State hazing death case

Four former Penn State fraternity members were sentenced to jail time and house arrest in the 2017 death of a 19-year-old pledge, according to The Associated Press.

Centre County Judge Brian Marshall on Wednesday sentenced Michael Bonatucci to 30 days to six months, Luke Visser to two months to six months and Joshua Kurczewski to three months to nine months. Marshall sentenced Joseph Sala to three to 10 months of house arrest.

All of the defendants were sentenced on charges of hazing and conspiracy to commit hazing, while Kurczewski also pleaded guilty to furnishing alcohol to minors.


Prosecutors claimed Kurczewski and Visser set up a “gauntlet” of drinking events for pledges, while Sala led them and Bonatucci dispensed beer, according to the AP. Penn State sophomore Tim Piazza died after pledging the school’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity in 2017. After drinking heavily, Piazza was fatally injured in a series of falls, eventually falling down the stairs into a basement. The death sparked widespread outrage and the passage of a state anti-hazing law in October 2018.

“Piazza’s ‘brothers,’ including defendant Visser, repeatedly encouraged and caused more and more alcohol consumption until his judgment and physical control of his body became severely impaired,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “This directly resulted in his slow and painful death.”

The fraternity has since been permanently banned and several other former members have pleaded guilty to hazing- or alcohol-related charges, with more serious charges such as involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault being dismissed or withdrawn, according to the AP.

Piazza’s parents are also suing 28 former members of the fraternity, citing text messages in which members suggest deleting incriminating security camera footage among other evidence.

The Hill has reached out to Penn State for comment.