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Second Beta Theta Pi Brother Scheduled To Enter Guilty Plea

Another defendant is expected to plead guilty in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity hazing case.

Joseph Ems, 22, of Philadelphia, is scheduled to enter a guilty plea on Aug. 8 before Centre County Judge Brian Marshall, according to court dockets. Ems is charged with one count of hazing and one count of unlawful acts relative to liquor.

In June, former fraternity brother Ryan Burke pleaded guilty to four counts of hazing and five alcohol charges, becoming the first defendant in the case to enter a plea. He was sentenced by Marshall on Tuesday to three months house arrest, 27 months of probation and fines.

Charges against Ems stem from the recovery of deleted basement video from the night Penn State sophomore and fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza sustained fatal injuries after falling during an alcohol-fueled bid acceptance night at the now-banned Beta Theta Pi chapter.

Prosecutors allege that Ems forced alcohol on a pledge, though not Piazza, during a social event that followed an initiation ceremony.

Ems was initially charged in May 2017 with one count of recklessly endangering another person, but that charge was dismissed following a first preliminary hearing last summer.

At a second preliminary hearing in May, District Judge Steven Lachman bound over the hazing and liquor code violation counts and dismissed a charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Twenty-two other former Beta Theta Pi members still face a variety of charges in the case, with most currently scheduled for a February 2019 trial.

About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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