“On 1/18/15 James Vivenzio came into the State College Police Department and requested a meeting to discuss possible crimes on a private Facebook page,” according to the probable cause affidavit for a warrant to contents of KDR’s private Facebook page “2.0.”
The following information is based on public documents and police comments at press conferences.
James Vivenzio requested a meeting with State College police, where he presented them with 20 pieces of evidence from KDR’s private Facebook page. Additionally, he brought his laptop and showed police the (then-active) page and offered to let them use his Facebook to obtain further evidence. He was identified in the affidavit as a former member of KDR, but was still one of the 144 members of the “2.0” at the time.
In the probable cause affidavit for a warrant, police listed that with the help of their informant, Vivenzio, they would obtain copies of the contents, postings, messages, pictures, names, and other information related to the depicted criminal activity. Between the time the probable cause affidavit for the warrant was filed on Jan. 30, and the time it was served, the Facebook page was deactivated.
As a result, Vivenzio never worked as a police informant beyond initially informing them of the page’s existence. Lieutenant Keith Robb told Onward State the department is working with Facebook to obtain more evidence from the pages, but added that “it probably will take a while to get any results.”
Who Is James Vivenzio?
“Our son did the right thing here and voluntarily reported abhorrent and dangerous criminal activity to the authorities,” Vivenzio’s parents said in a statement to the Washington Post. Student protesters and rally leaders hailed Vivenzio as a hero at a silent protest outside Old Main last Friday.
Vivenzio was a junior from Great Falls, Virginia, according to his LinkedIn page. He is no longer enrolled as a student, according to the university.
Court records show Vivenzio was arrested twice in the past two years after run-ins with law enforcement, once in Fairfax County, and again in State College. Vivenzio’s family told the Washington Post the charges in Fairfax county were dropped, and he was ultimately charged with a driving infraction.
Charges from the State College Police Department were still pending when Vivenzio went to police with information on the private KDR Facebook page in January. According to his criminal docket, Vivenzio faces criminal charges from an incident on Aug. 23, including resisting arrest, escaping police custody, purchasing alcohol as a minor, open container, and scattering rubbish. On Feb. 2, there was an order granting a motion for continuance in the case, and Vivenzio had his pre-trial conference on March 19, according to the Centre County Court of Common Pleas court summary.
According to the Washington Post, the statement from Vivenzio’s parents blamed “severe and inhumane hazing” by KDR for Vivenzio’s recent problems with the law, adding: “We pray for his safety and his complete recovery from this ordeal, as well as for all of the students and victims that were so severely impacted by the actions of this and other fraternities.”
What Does It Mean?
The affidavit is clear. Vivenzio reached out to SCPD with the information. However, it’s difficult to ignore the slew of criminal charges Vivenzio currently faces from that same department. Regardless of if Vivenzio brought the information forward to try and help his own case, there were 144 members of the Facebook page “2.0” and 143 of those members didn’t try and put a stop to what was going on. Police did not respond to our calls or messages regarding Vivenzio’s criminal case.
An anonymous brother referred to Vivenzio as “the one that snitched” in an interview with Philly Mag.
For the time being, the investigations by the police, university, IFC, and national fraternity are ongoing. The evidence presented by Vivenzio is clearly only the tip of the iceberg. With the page deactivated, officials are working to further unravel the allegations against KDR.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as the story develops.