The family of 19-year-old Penn State student Timothy Piazza is speaking out following his February death after an alleged hazing ritual, blaming the incident on the fraternity members who allegedly pressured their son to consume large amounts of alcohol and then neglected to get help for hours after Timothy fell multiple times.
Timothy’s parents, Jim and Evelyn, and his brother, Mike, sat down with Today’s Matt Lauer on Mother’s Day.
“This wasn’t boys being boys, Matt,” Jim said. “This was men who intended to force feed lethal amounts of alcohol into other young men, and what happened throughout the night was just careless disregard for human life.”
Jim continued, “They basically treated our son as roadkill and a ragdoll.”
According to the findings of a grand jury, Timothy allegedly participated in a hazing ritual at Beta Theta Pi called “the gauntlet,” whereby the pledges were made to drink at a fast pace at a series of drinking stations — such as the shotgun and wine station — for the purpose of getting “pledges drunk in a very short amount of time.”
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Authorities said the fraternity had purchased $1,179 of alcohol, including cases of vodka, beer, wine and 15 cases of the malt liquor Four Loko for the party Timothy attended.
“Nobody should consume that much alcohol,” Evelyn said. “That’s torture.”
In addition to the alleged amount of liquor consumed, others at the party allegedly neglected to call 911 for 12 hours despite the Timothy’s allegedly falling multiple times — including one alleged instance in which he tumbled down a flight of stairs to the basement.
Jim said he asked doctors if the outcome may have been different if Timothy had been brought to a hospital sooner, and the doctors confirmed it would have.
“It killed him,” the father said of the alleged wait to call for help.
Part of what ensued that night — Piazza’s injuries and the alleged disregard with which he was treated — was captured on video surveillance that was shown to the grand jury.
The family said that they had not seen the footage.
“I don’t want to see it as a parent because I feel like it’s going to be incredibly painful and the last memories of my son will be him being abused for twelve hours and dying a slow and painful death,” Jim said, noting that he would watch it with Penn State officials who could make a difference in the school’s culture.
The Piazzas also joined George Stephanopoulos live on Good Morning America Monday, where they said they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the university as well as fraternity members.
“I don’t know where their conscience was, where the voice in the back of their head was saying, ‘He’s hurt. I gotta do the right thing,'” Evelyn told Stephanopoulos. “I don’t understand how they could be so heartless and inhumane.”
Jim alleged,”They intended to bring these gentlemen to alcohol-poisoning levels right from the outset.” He added, “At the end of the day, this was planned and orchestrated and I think they all need to be held accountable.”
The father also said that Penn State was at fault for allegedly fostering a dangerous drinking and hazing culture on campus.
“They’ve turned a blind eye to it, but that time is over,” he alleged.
Jim added, “The world is watching. I think things are going to change. Families want things to change. We’re here to be the advocate. Tim Piazza is not just our son anymore. He represents everyone’s son and daughter that is looking to go to college and potentially joining Greek life.”