Father of Penn State Student Killed in Hazing Event Wants More 'Justice' After Frat Brother Sentenced
The father of a Penn State fraternity pledge who died after a hazing event in 2017 spoke out for the first time since a former fraternity leader was sentenced to probation.
Jim Piazza, whose son Timothy died at a now-shuttered fraternity in State College, Pa., said the sentencing "sets a precedent" but he hopes others who played a more central role in his son's death face justice.
Ryan Burke, 21, of Scranton, was the first of more than 20 defendants to plead guilty to four counts of hazing and five alcohol violations in the death of engineering student Tim Piazza in February 2017.
Piazza, a sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey, drank a dangerous amount of alcohol and suffered fatal head and abdominal injuries in a series of falls during a party by the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
Court documents say Burke was an active participant in the bid acceptance night events at the fraternity, including providing alcohol to Piazza and others who had just signed up as pledges.
Burke, the rush chairman, was sentenced inside a Bellefonte, Pa. courtroom to three months of house arrest, 27 months of probation and community service.
Jim Piazza said the sentencing should hopefully spur "appropriate justice" for those people with a "more meaningful role" than Burke's in the events that led to Tim's death.
Piazza said his family set up a charity in Tim's honor, raising money for children in need of prosthetics.
Tim Piazza was an engineering student interested in prosthetics and their medical purposes, Jim said.
"We're not trying to discourage participation" in fraternities, Piazza said. "We're not judges and we don't know really what the right amount of punishment should be [for Tim's death]."
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