SAE Pledges Acquitted In Cornell Hazing Trial
ITHACA, NY (WENY)---A verdict has been reached in the Cornell University hazing trial.
Max Haskin, Edward Williams and Ben Mann, along with the fraternity, have been acquitted of all criminal wrongdoing. They were charged with hazing and unlawfully dealing with a child.
It was at the the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity house on the campus of Cornell University where George Desdunes, a pledge of the Cornell fraternity, was found by a custodian, still tied up.He died that day in February 2011 after a night of drinking during an alleged hazing ritual at the fraternity house.
Haskin, Williams and Mann were accused of "kidnapping" Desdunes and another student, and forcing them to drink alcohol. Desdunes passed out on the way back to the fraternity house. He was carried into the house, and left on a couch.
On Tuesday, the three pledges were acquitted on all charges in a Tompkins County court. But the trouble may not be over for S.A.E and the pledges. Desdunes' mother has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the fraternity.
Last year, Cornell University revoked recognition of the fraternity for five years meaning SAE will not operate on the Ithaca campus.
In a statement released to WENY-TV News on Wednesday, the pledges' lawyer, Ray Schlather says, "The court has determined without reservation or equivocation that these young pledges are innocent. They did not haze George Desdunes or cause his death. That being said, there are no winners in this tragedy. The family of George Desdunes lost a son. These young men have been unnecessarily scapegoated and their lives have been irreparably damaged."