Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rider U Administrators Charges Dropped

Judge Drops Hazing Charges Against Rider U. Officials in Case of Fraternity Pledge's Death
By TOM HESTER
The Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. -- A judge on Tuesday dismissed charges against two Rider University officials in a case involving the drinking death of a fraternity pledge.

Superior Court Judge Maria Sypek approved a request by Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini to dismiss the aggravated hazing counts against Dean of Students Anthony Campbell and Ada Badgley, the school's director of Greek life.

The two administrators and three Rider students were indicted on Aug. 3 in connection with the death of freshman Gary DeVercelly Jr., 18, of Long Beach, Calif.
However, prosecutors said they decided there wasn't enough evidence to take the officials to trial.

DeVercelly died March 30, a day after drinking at a party at the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity on the private college's campus. Authorities said he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.426 percent, more than five times New Jersey's legal limit for driving.

Badgley was unaware of the events that led to DeVercelley's death, said her attorney, David Laigaie. "Ms. Badgley cannot be guilty of a crime for something that she did not participate in or have knowledge of," Laigaie said.

Campbell's attorney, Rocco Cipparone Jr., welcomed Tuesday's decision as "the correct and only result."

DeVercelly family attorney Douglas Fierberg said the family was shocked.

The three students still face charges and have pleaded not guilty.

Judge Drops Hazing Charges Against Rider U. Officials in Case of Fraternity Pledge's Death