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Westport Resident Among Penn State Frat Members Being Sued In Hazing Case

Timothy Piazza.
Timothy Piazza. Photo Credit:

A Fairfield County man is one of more than two dozen fraternity brothers who is being sued by the parents of a Penn State student who died during a hazing incident in 2017.

Donald Prior, of Westport, is one of 28 members of Beta Theta Pi who were named in a lawsuit by the parents of Timothy Piazza, who died at the age of 19 at a party at the frat house during pledging.

The federal lawsuit was filed on the day before the two-year anniversary of Piazza’s death, when he suffered a traumatic brain injury, skull fracture and lacerated spleen. Piazza’s parents have settled with Penn State University and is now turning their attention to the frat members they say helped contribute to their son’s death at 19 years old. The lawsuit alleges negligence, conspiracy and assault.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity's national organization settled with the Piazza family for an undisclosed figure last September.

“The fraternity defendants negligently, recklessly, and outrageously forced, coerced, encouraged or otherwise caused Pennsylvania State University sophomore Timothy Piazza to consume life-threatening amounts of alcohol, and caused him to become intoxicated, fall and suffer grievous injuries and death,” the lawsuit alleges. “For more than 11 hours after his fall, Timothy Piazza endured horrible pain and suffering, which was documented by closed-circuit cameras.”

According to reports, Prior pleaded guilty in January to hazing and unlawful acts related to liquor. He was sentenced to a year of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine. He reportedly also was ordered to have no contact with a pair of former frat pledges.

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