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Brian Setnick Charged With Ethnic Intimidation

The father of a Penn State student accused of using hate speech and racial slurs has been charged with one felony account of ethnic intimidation, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Brian Setnick, the father of Penn State student Sean Setnick, is also faced with misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, and harassment. According to court reports, he was arraigned Friday and released on $75,000 unsecured bail.

“At a time when our communities cry out for tolerance and healing, this defendant chose to use vile and hateful language to threaten peaceful protesters,” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said in a statement. “Because of the great work of the Aston Police Department and the continued bravery of those that raised their voice for equality and refused to be silenced, he will be brought to justice.”

Setnick, as well as his son and an unidentified third individual, were recorded last week allegedly shouting slurs and hate speech at protestors in Aston, Pennsylvania. According to the Inquirer, seven witnesses reported to Aston police they felt personally threatened by Sentick’s actions.

“We hope that this prosecution makes clear that this community has no room for such hateful and threatening behavior,” Aston Police Chief Dan Ruggieri said. “I hope that the victims of this crime know that we take these allegations very seriously, and that we will work every day to ensure their safety.”

After videos of the incident surfaced on Twitter, Onward State received the following statement from Sean Setnick:

The videos and images falsely depicted me in using racial slurs against peaceful protestors in my home town. I was in the passenger seat with an American flag, and said nothing racist nor derogatory toward any individual. Some of the people at the protest were friends I graduated high school with, in which I would never disown in such horrible ways. Please look at all the facts before assuming anything. The one in which did use these derogatory terms was the driver of the Jeep.

At this time, it’s unclear what, if any, charges may be filed against Sean. Penn State released a statement last week acknowledging it doesn’t have the power to expel a student over their speech “no matter how reprehensible it may be.”

We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a senior majoring in journalism and Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza and "Arrested Development" quotes. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ if you hate yourself or email Matt at [email protected] if you hate him.


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