Students Involved in Alleged Hazing Appear in Court
Variety of dispositions for Alpha Epsilon Pi brothers
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.11 Comments