OXFORD, Ohio — More than half of the men charged in a fraternity hazing incident at Miami University have admitted guilt, while others are awaiting later court dates.
After nine guilty pleas this week, 10 of the 18 men have admitted to charges related to the incident.
In October, a Butler County grand jury returned 64 misdemeanor charges against the men following a suspension of Delta Tau Delta fraternity near Miami’s main campus in Oxford. The fraternity received a 15-year suspension after a member claimed he was forced to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana and was beaten with a spiked paddle last March.
Visiting Judge Thomas Hanna was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court on Oct. 28 to hear the cases in Butler County Area I Court in Oxford.
According to the incident report filed by the student with the university and obtained through a Journal-News public records request, he claimed the alleged abuse “occurred during a hazing ritual at the university during a mandatory event.”
The student said the alleged incident happened at 7 p.m. on March 16, 2019, at the fraternity house at 220 Tallawanda Road in Oxford.
The indictment contains charges of assault and hazing, first- and fourth-degree misdemeanors. Some face as few as two charges, while others face as many as six.
Those facing misdemeanor charges are: Andrew Michael Brinkman, Hugh Webster, Michael Keen, Liam Newcomer, James MacKeigan, Joshua Plaster, Tyler Glowaski, Connor Meek, Alex Niezyniecki, Scott Sidner, Nicholas Griswold, Jason Londa, Grady McMichen, Samay Lakshya Pahouja, Nicholas Carmichael, Benjamin Grossheim, Bennett Faloni and Jonathan H. Rauch.
Prosecutors indicated at hearings in November and December that they had offered all defendants the opportunity to plead to one count of hazing.
At the Dec. 10 hearing, Glowaski pleaded guilty to the fourth-degree misdemeanor.
On Tuesday, nine more defendants — Webster, Keen, Plaster, Griswold, Londa, Newcomer, MacKeigan, Sidner and Raush — entered guilty pleas to the misdemeanor hazing charge. The other cases were continued until next month or a date that has not yet been set.
All received fines between $100 and the maximum of $250 and suspended 30-day jail sentences, according to court records.
Oxford Police Lt. Lara Fening said the misdemeanor indictments came following a lengthy investigation and in cooperation with the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office.
The accuser told school officials he was blindfolded and “told I could not leave even when I requested. Being forced to drink large amounts of alcohol and (smoke) marijuana. Other harassing and abusive behaviors such as spitting in face and kicking me.”
The incident report filed by the student also said, “I was blindfolded alongside 24 other pledges, and we all waited in a room for about 1.5 hours while very scary music was playing. At that point I was very intoxicated, and they hit me more and more with wooden paddles.
“(I) told (redacted) within 5 minutes of being there ‘call 911 I feel like I’m going to die.'
“The emergency squad showed up and took me on a stretcher … the … ambulance where I then spent roughly 7 hours in the hospital with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .231 and was released at approximately 7:15 a.m. Sunday (March 17) morning,” the student wrote.
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