WHAT’S THIS CASE ALL ABOUT?
This lawsuit arises from the reckless, barbaric, and life-threatening hazing going on at the Kappa Delta Rho (KDR) fraternity house at Penn State University. The plaintiff, James Vivenzio, was subjected as a KDR pledge to physical assault and battery including cigarette burns; force-feeding bucketfuls of liquor mixed with urine, vomit, hot sauce and other liquid and semi-solid ingredients; physically and mentally abusive line ups and alcohol hazing, branding pledges on the buttocks using a firey-hot, metal hangar; directing fraternity pledges to guzzle hard liquor without stopping until vomiting was induced (a “ritual” in which fraternity alumni eagerly participated); requiring pledges to spend hours scrubbing floors and to pick up large quantities of garbage that was deliberately strewn about the fraternity house; to perform homework assignments for older fraternity members in violation of academic rules and regulations; and to serve as on-call errand-boys and laborers for older members.
The hazing activities at KDR took place despite fraternity and university assurances of a “zero tolerance” for hazing and, indeed, were perpetrated by both current students and fraternity alumni, with the actual knowledge of PSU officials.
Plaintiff, James Vivenzio, is the whistleblower who, in January 2015, brought evidence to police about an invitation-only Facebook site that was used by KDR members to post photos of female students naked, unconscious and, in some cases, in the act of being sexually assaulted. This Facebook site was also used to facilitate hazing by enabling instantaneous communication with the pledges and to humiliate, harass and beacon the pledges on a 24/7 basis.
As a result of extreme hazing at KDR, Plaintiff Vivenzio failed out after his freshman year, entered rehabilitation and therapy programs for alcohol abuse, and was hospitalized for post-traumatic stress from the hazing.
Most importantly, through this action, Plaintiff Vivenzio hopes to bring attention to the illegal disturbing and dangerous hazing, sexual abuse and assault that takes place at Penn State and at other university and college campuses as well and to force Defendants to take all necessary steps to stop hazing and sexual assault so as to protect the health and well being of all students.