Frat Pledge Sent Chilling Text Before Death
'They're going to get me f----- up,' wrote Tim Piazza at Penn State
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2017 7:51 AM CDT
A Penn State student walks in the rain past Old Main on the Penn State main campus in State College, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(Newser) – Penn State sophomore Tim Piazza sent a final text to his girlfriend the night he took a fatal fall at a fraternity house: "They're going to get me f----- up." Piazza's parents tell the Philadelphia Inquirer their 19-year-old son sent the message shortly before he headed to Beta Theta Pi for an initiation ceremony dressed in a jacket and tie. Two hours later, the engineering major tumbled down the basement stairs, and was placed on a couch. That is where medics found him 12 hours later, after someone finally called for help. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound teen died two days later, suffering from a "non-recoverable" traumatic brain injury, a collapsed lung, and a ruptured spleen. "We know there was heavy drinking," says his father, Jim Piazza. Family attorney Tom Kline adds that "there's every indication that this was a brutal, horrible hazing incident."

Jim Piazza faults a 2015 university task force that looked into reports of fraternity system hazing, sexual assaults, and underage drinking, but in the end took no "meaningful actions." The family also wants to know why a 56-year-old assistant athletic director was allowed to live at the frat house—the school says Tim Bream did so not as a university employee but through a separate contract with the fraternity. Since Piazza's death, Penn State has permanently banned Beta Theta Pi and outlawed daylong parties and kegs, among other measures, per the New York Daily News. Police ruled Piazza's death accidental, but the fraternity could face criminal charges if a grand jury rules there is evidence of reckless endangerment. The local DA plans to release evidence and findings this month, reports the Daily Collegian. (Six members of a UConn frat were charged in a student's death.)

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