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Students Involved in Alleged Hazing Appear in Court

Variety of dispositions for Alpha Epsilon Pi brothers

Alpha Epsilon Pi Boston University hazing

One brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity pleaded not guilty to assault and battery, hazing, and failure to report hazing yesterday in Brighton District Court in connection with an alleged incident at the unrecognized fraternity in April. A half dozen other BU brothers had various charges continued or resolved.

Judge Patricia Bernstein set an August 20 pretrial hearing for Jesse Kay (SMG’14). Assault and battery is punishable by up to two-and-half years in prison, while hazing carries up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Kay’s lawyer said the 20-year-old “has no prior involvement in anything involving criminal activity,” and he would seek to have the charges dismissed. Kay was released on his own recognizance.

The incident began after a complaint about a rowdy party at 24 Ashford St., Allston, brought Boston police to the address, where they found five AEPi pledges in the basement, stripped to their underwear, bound together with duct tape, and covered in food condiments.

Kay and another man facing the same charges, Spencer Davidson (CGS’10, SHA’12), who was arraigned June 20, are charged with ordering the five pledges to strip, allegedly tightening their bonds, pouring hot chili sauce on them that left welts on their skin, and ordering them to drink fish oil.

Three others—Jonathan Toobi (SHA’12), Lawrence Rosenblum (CGS’12), and Alexander Nisenzon (SMG’12)—face charges of failure to report hazing, and Rosenblum also is charged with keeping a disorderly home. Bernstein set arraignment dates for the three: Toobi on September 12, Rosenblum on September 20, and Nisenzon on August 27. Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Luke Goldworm said those students had a “more limited role” in the alleged hazing, having been found upstairs rather than in the basement with the pledges.

The charges against two more men were decriminalized to civil infractions. Justin Michael Katz (CAS’12), who had been charged with failure to report hazing, proved that he was out at a convenience store during the alleged hazing, Goldworm said. The judge fined him $200 in court costs. Robert Rappa (SMG’12) told the pledges to come to the house for the alleged hazing, but was not involved in it, according to Goldworm. He was ordered to pay $400 in court costs and do 40 hours of community service.

A seventh person, facing failure-to-report charges, Kyle Shevrin (COM’12), is to be arraigned August 27. Another, Michael Sanieoff (CGS’12), was arraigned last month on a charge of keeping a disorderly house and is due back in court July 5.

Charges against four other students had been dropped before yesterday’s proceedings, which lasted about 40 minutes, as the accused who were present (not all were) appeared before the judge one by one with their lawyers to answer to their separate charges. Reflecting the local attention the case has garnered off campus, reporters and photographers for various media, including the Boston Globe, New England Cable News, and Boston television affiliates WCVB and WHDH, covered the arraignments. Afterwards, the media scrum jostled to get pictures and comments from one of the students, pursuing him and his family down the street to their car.

The University does not recognize AEPi, whose national organization yanked membership from the chapter April 10 following the alleged incident.

Earlier this year, Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87) suspended until 2013 Sigma Delta Tau sorority for a drunken hazing that sent two female students to the hospital. AEPi brothers participated in that incident as well.

The AEPi and SDT cases were the first reported hazings at BU in more than a decade and followed a winter meeting with Greek life leaders where Elmore stressed the imperative of avoiding hazing.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

11 Comments on Students Involved in Alleged Hazing Appear in Court

  • yep on 06.28.2012 at 9:16 am

    so, 4 of these students came to court with their lawyers and thats enough to get the charges dropped?

    • mr anonymous on 06.28.2012 at 9:47 am

      Yeah, pretty bad if you ask me. What is less than a slap on the wrist called?

      • Paul on 06.28.2012 at 11:03 am

        A wrist massage?

        • Yep 2 on 07.03.2012 at 11:58 am

          Who cares man thats how the court works these days you get a lawyer and you get out of trouble . BOOM . that simple

  • The City on 06.28.2012 at 10:06 am

    They should all rot in prison AND jail

  • ugh on 06.28.2012 at 11:08 am

    Seriously, why weren’t they expelled?

    • Steve Bassuk on 06.28.2012 at 4:29 pm

      What do you expect from a school whose students get drunk on weekends and vandalize public property in their neighbourhood.

    • Really? on 06.28.2012 at 5:26 pm

      It’s interesting, Rolling Stone published a disturbingly revealing look inside fraternity culture both in itself and as it is perceived by the academic institutions they belong to. It’s disappointing that both Boston University and our legal system fails to punish these students. It simply sends a horrible, perpetuating message. I advise everyone to read this article, including Dean Elmore.


      • Wrong on 06.29.2012 at 11:11 am

        I’m sorry but even the article says that the frat culture at Dartmouth is unique compared to other schools. At my frat and the others I hang out at I have not heard of hazing at all. Not once have I or any pledges in my memory been forced to do anything that could harm us. While at times drinking beer quickly was strongly encouraged simply saying no thanks tended to be the end of it. I’d say that the most annoying thing we do to pledges is require them to, at all times, carry around a brick with special symbols painted on it.

        My experience in fraternity culture has been that it gives students an alternative place to live and make close bonds with other men. The fact that we go through a pledging process gives it structure and order; parties are always followed with every member of the fraternity cleaning up, which I doubt would ever happen with a group of 40 housemates. We help eachother where and when we can. The idea that fraternity’s are filled with predators is ridiculous.

    • excuse me... on 06.28.2012 at 10:53 pm

      I’m sorry, but please tell me which university doesn’t have students who get drunk on weekends? I agree that they should have been punished more (not necessarily expelled) but it’s just ridiculous to accuse BU of being a school that doesn’t do anything about drunk students… let’s be honest, there are police everywhere on campus regulating drinking. It’s important to understand that this situation is the exception on campus and not the norm. Maybe you should give Boston University a little more respect for the way it’s been handling all the things happening on campus this past year as opposed to accusing it and its community of being a majority of disrespectful people…

  • Tom on 06.28.2012 at 7:51 pm

    Keep in mind that these are students with no previous criminal records and that these five pledges have not pressed charges. Granted, this is no excuse for hazing, but understand these kids are part of a misled culture of Greek society which has been surrounded in hazing, violence, and generally poor decisions for decades. Can we reasonably send students to prison or shove huge fines down their throats when they are caught up in this huge mess of peer pressure, history, and already accepted customs? I have to think there are more civil ways of resolving Greek society without destroying young adult lives.

    Yet maybe that is simply wishful thinking. With the string of Greek-related crimes that have been occurring within Boston University this year, maybe even tighter measures have to made by BUPD and Boston University as a whole.

    I fear there is a misconception that Boston University has developed a reputation as a school with terrible and violent Greek life. Keep in mind, any current Boston University student will tell you BU has some of the strictest policies against underage drinking, hazing, and poor behavior in the country. BUPD is also incredibly active throughout the community – you will see them from friday-sunday in Allston (where the activity usually takes place and my place of residence). Boston University is utterly transparent with its policing activities and that, to a certain extent, is why we have drawn so much attention from the public eye.

    Take a look at Florida and even Cornell where deaths have occurred from hazing. None of these colleges have publicized them the way BU has. We have BU Today, a university-wide publication that is sent to students every morning. We know exactly whats going immediately when it happens. The awareness BU is building is a great first step to preventing further problems and protecting its students.

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