No charges in death of Cornell freshman ‘hazed’ at frat party

0
46
No charges in death of Cornell freshman 'hazed' at frat party

No criminal charges will be filed in the death of a Cornell University freshman whose body was found in an Ithaca gorge last year after a frat party where he was allegedly hazed and forced to guzzle alcohol, police said Monday.

Cornell University Police Department investigators concluded their year-long probe and found no evidence of foul play at the overlook above where Antonio Tsialas’ body was discovered, Chief David Honan said in a statement.

“The death remains an accidental death due to a fall from a height as classified by the medical examiner,” Honan said.

The 18-year-old student’s body was found in Fall Creek gorge on Oct. 26, 2019, a day after he had been reported missing when he failed to meet his relatives for Family Weekend at the Ivy League school.

On the night of Oct. 24, Tsialas attended an “unregistered and clandestinely planned” rush event at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house with other potential pledges. There, frat members “provided them with alcohol and encouraged them to participate in a variety of drinking games,” Honan said.

Later that night, Tsialas wound up at an overlook and fell.

Investigators — who conducted some 150 interviews and followed up on nearly 100 other leads — weren’t able to determine how the teenager got to the overlook after leaving or being escorted from the frat party, Honan said.

The Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office decided not to file criminal charges following the investigation.

Officers briefed Tsialas’ relatives on the findings of the probe on Nov. 20 in the “hope that it would provide some measure of closure to the family for their tragic loss.”

The family in January filed a lawsuit against Cornell, the fraternity and several of its members, claiming Tsialas was subjected to severe hazing rituals at the “Christmas in October” event where he and six other freshmen were forced to binge-drink a wide array of booze and were submerged upside down in trash cans full of water.

The suit states that Tsialas’ desperate parents were forced to hire private investigators when the school and frat refused to answer questions about their son’s death. The couple had offered a $10,000 reward for information.

Last month, Cornell permanently revoked recognition of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, meaning it will no longer be recognized as part of the school.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here