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Former Miami student sues three former fraternity brothers over hazing incident

Tyler Perino returns to Toledo
Posted at 2:53 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 20:16:32-05

OXFORD, Ohio — A former Miami University student is suing three former fraternity brothers over a series of 2019 hazing incidents, including one that left him in the hospital.

In the lawsuit, filed Monday, Tyler Perino's attorneys argue the three former frat brothers were in charge of the pledging process, and their negligence caused Perino "pain and suffering" and "medical expenses," among other things.

"We have to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again to someone else," wrote attorney Sean Alto. "If we can put it in the minds of the people who are in charge of the pledge process, to put a little concern in their mind about what could happen if their misdeeds are found out, our sincere hope is to get them to change course."

Perino lawsuit by WCPO Web Team on Scribd

The three former fraternity brothers named in the lawsuit are Perino's "big brother," Joshua Plaster; Hugh Webster, the membership educator for the Spring 2019 pledge class; and chapter president Andrew Brinkman.

The lawsuit includes photos of the amount of alcohol and marijuana at a "Poker Night" event in February 2019, which Perino and his attorneys claim the pledges were required to purchase.

It also includes an account of the March "Big-Little Night" Perino recently described to WCPO.

"We laid it out in extreme detail," Alto said. "Because Tyler is fortunate enough to live through this harrowing experience, he was able to provide a blow-by-blow account of what happened, and what people ought to know about this is that it isn't a unique scenario."

In a Miami University report, Perino told investigators he was paddled on his "bare butt" and asked to go back to his dorm room at Collins Hall.

"My girlfriend was at my dorm room. She said that my 'Big' dropped me off at my dorm room, and at that time I was face down in my bed, puking, and she tried to turn me over and change my clothes," Perino said. "After that happened, she said that I told her that I felt like I was going to die, and she called 911."

Court and university investigative documents show Perino's blood alcohol content was .231 after he was admitted to the hospital. For context, Ohio's legal limit to drive is .08 percent.

Delta Tau Delta's national headquarters since has revoked the chapter's charter. After an investigation, Miami University suspended Delta Tau Delta for up to 15 years.

A Butler County grand jury indicted 18 members of the chapter. All pleaded guilty to one count of hazing, a misdemeanor.

"The goal would be to see hazing as a felony," Perino said in an October interview with WCPO. "I just hope that I'm able to get my message out there. People need to hear it."

WCPO reached out to Perino and his family for comment Wednesday.

"He has a very compelling story to tell," Alto said. "He is fortunate enough to survive. Others obviously are now here to tell their story and he is. And he's willing to get out there and talk to people in charge of these groups and in those rooms willing to make those decisions."

Alto also represents the family of Collin Wiant, a Columbus-area teen who died after hazing in a fraternity annex house at Ohio University in 2018. His parents have lobbied Ohio lawmakers to pass Collin's Law, making hazing a felony in the state. They also speak to groups nationwide.

This is a developing story. WCPO will continue to follow it and update it.