As part of the recommendations that came in the 10-month grand jury investigation into Penn State Greek life, a strengthening of the “currently deficient” hazing law was proposed.
“Hazing right now is only a misdemeanor, and that’s not sufficient,” Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said.
The legislation will be dubbed “Tim’s Law” in recognition of Tim Piazza’s death.
The law would be a “multi-tiered” system in which the punishment reflects the result of the hazing. Currently hazing is a second degree misdemeanor, but the grand jury recommends a first degree misdemeanor for any hazing that “causes or risks causing bodily injury,” a second degree felony for hazing that “causes or risks causing serious bodily injury,” and a first degree felony for hazing that “results in the death of the victim.”
There would be heavier penalties for repeat offenders and a “special enhancement” for cases involving a deadly or offensive weapon, including in a bat or a paddle.
The presentment also mentions that it wants written in law an effort that would restrict victim blaming in these cases, which has been publicly thrown as a question to Piazza for his own role in drinking that night.
“I never understood that theory. It doesn’t have to be forced. Hazing is forced,” Parks Miller said when new charges were rolled out back in November in response to whether Piazza was forced to drink.
There would be a subsection to “Tim’s Law” titled “Defenses,” which reads “it shall not be a defense to an offense in this section that the victim consented to or voluntarily participated in any activity that meets the above definition of hazing.