Cornell SAE Pledges Acquitted of Hazing Charges

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Nice Move

From the New York Times:

The three defendants — Max Haskin, Ben Mann and Edward Williams — were accused of making George Desdunes drink excessive amounts of alcohol during an induction ritual for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, of which they were all members. They were charged with hazing in the first degree and unlawfully dealing with a child (referring to serving alcohol to a person under 21), both misdemeanors. But on Tuesday, Judge Judith A. Rossiter of Tompkins County Court acquitted them of all charges.

The verdict was reached after Judge Rossiter determined that not only were the pledges unaware of George Desdunes’ level of intoxication, but that Desdunes was participating in the event voluntarily. Several witnesses in the case testified that Desdunes had been drinking heavily for hours and that as an active he was free to stop the “kidnapping” at any time. They also claimed that Desdunes was known for being able to hold his liquor.

Although the three pledges were acquitted, Cornell’s SAE chapter did not defend itself against the hazing charges and has been kicked off campus. The fraternity will liked be forced to pay a fine.

This is a tragic story, and I wish the family of George Desdunes all the best, but I agree with the verdict. I one hundred percent believe that Desdunes was doing this voluntarily. Considering that he apparently A) was already pretty drunk and B) known for being able to hold his liquor, then it’s very likely that he stayed of his own accord, believing (mistakingly) that he was in no danger. People might not like to hear it, but George Desdunes was as responsible for his death as anyone else was. Furthermore, the kids who were “holding him captive” were just that, dumb kids. They had no idea what the hell they were doing. Granted that isn’t generally a good excuse to acquit someone, but considering how directly involved the victim was with his own fate, it makes a difference in a case like this. It’s a small bit of victory that these kids didn’t have their lives completely ruined for what was a tragic series of mistakes.

My thoughts go out to the family of George Desdunes. Hopefully this is a cautionary tale to everyone else out there.



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  1. 1

    SAE at my school was kicked off campus a year ago for… well…hazing.Thoughts go out to the victims family, but forreal, why do that to yourself or let others do that to you?

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
  2. 0
    James A Brofield

    For the record, they also left him on the couch. He was set up not to vomit in his own mouth (they put him on his side), but nobody was checking on him to make sure he was ok. He stopped breathing in his sleep. Let it be a lesson to watch out for your brothers when they are going completely ape-shit (likely at least a few times per year). Check on them from time to time, or find someone who can. No matter how well they hold their liquor, BAC over .4 can very well kill you. This hit our entire campus hard.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
    • 0
      Boots and Sperrys

      Your ignorance, lack of respect, and all around retardation has personally offended me at this point. Hang? His BAC was .4 you fucking moron, in my state thats nearly 6 times the legal limit and in my book I guarantee a .08 would have your geed ass unconscious. Go back to middle school and try a little respect for the dead, especially those who are in a way of life you claim to be a part of.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
    • 0

      ^^ Exactly. When something such as this happens, it affects the school, chapter, and the entire greek organization. Poor judgement on ANY greek organizations part reflect poorly on the greek community as a whole, and let’s be honest, there’s a lot of people out there who want us gone…

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
    • -1
      France Sucks

      ^ This. I’m not a member of SAE, but my condolences go out to them. Your lack of respect is a mark of both immaturity and ignorance. I sincerely hope that you aren’t a member of any Greek organization.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago