“Code of Silence” Blamed for Slow Progress in LSU Hazing Cases
On our website, we have commented on hundreds of incidents involving injuries or deaths that were due fraternity hazing. In today’s post the fraternity hazing lawyer at The Doan Law Firm gives an update on recent developments in two fraternity hazing incidents at Louisiana State University.
In a story that appeared under the headline “DKE fraternity hazing probe at LSU stymied by code of silence that’s ‘alive and well,’ DA says” in the June 6 th edition of The Baton Rouge Advocate, it has been reported that 16 months have passed since 9 members of Louisiana State University’s now-disbanded chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity were arrested in February 2019 on a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges related to hazing of new fraternity members. All charges were made for violations of Louisiana’s Maxwell Gruver Law, which was enacted in 2018 after the 18-year-old Gruver died following an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual at another LSU fraternity.
According to the Advocate, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III blames the slow progress in those cases on a lack of two things: “cooperation from witnesses, and proof.”
“We have little to no cooperation with any potential witnesses,” he was quoted as saying. “At this point, given the lack of cooperation and the amount of time that’s passed, it has impacted our ability to proceed.” Later in that article, Moore was also quoted as blaming the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic as a factor in “bogging down” his office’s investigation into the case but did not explain how an epidemic that began a year after charges were filed could have affected that investigation’s earlier efforts.
In an unrelated case, our fraternity hazing lawyer cites yet another example of why the parents of fraternity hazing victims should not rely on the criminal justice system when seeking ‘justice” for their child’s injuries.
In January, we reported that former LSU Phi Delta Theta fraternity “pledge-master” Matthew Naquin had been convicted on a felony charge of negligent homicide related to Max Gruver’s death and had received a sentence of 5 years in prison (with 2 ½ years suspended), a fine of $1,000, and 1,000 hours of community service. Despite the seriousness of the felony conviction, Naquin was released from jail in April after serving only 3 months of his 2 ½-year sentence!
Although the fraternity hazing incidents mentioned above occurred at Louisiana State University, they are only reflections of the attitudes of many other fraternities and their host colleges: “If we just ignore fraternity hazing, or at least keep things quiet until any controversy blows over, then we can deny that hazing is a problem with our fraternity or at our school.” This “so what” attitude has led to an average of 2 deaths per year that were directly linked to fraternity hazing!
If your child was injured during a fraternity hazing ritual, you are invited to contact the fraternity hazing lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free confidential review of the facts in your child’s injury case and a discussion of the legal options that may be available asking a court to order that you and your child be compensated for the actions of the fraternity and/or school that led to your child’s injuries.
At The Doan Law Firm, there is never a charge for our staff to personally review the known facts in your case or for you to speak with our fraternity hazing injury lawyer. Should you later decide to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your child’s injuries, and that you would like to have our fraternity hazing lawyer represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement we are prepared to win for you.
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