The concluding note to the hazing affair involving first-year student Nate Erickson has finally come, as two Drake students plead guilty on Feb. 3 to hazing charges.
According to Iowa courts records, junior Skylar Otto and sophomore Joseph Hatchett plead guilty as part of a plea deal they made with prosecutors. They were sentenced to 12 months probation and 80 hours of community service, while also having to pay a $65 fine and undergo substance abuse evaluations.
Out of the 80 hours of community service, records indicate that 40 can be completed through Drake.
Originally charged with hazing leading to serious injury—a serious misdemeanor that could lead to over one year imprisonment—the sentence was dropped to hazing with no injury, which brought the charges down to a simple misdemeanor.
Otto and Hatchett were also given differed judgment, meaning that their records will be cleared of the charges if they meet all of the probation requirements.
On Wednesday, according to the court records, they turned in an envelope that included a victim impact statement, among other documents.
This plea comes after November’s “pledge dad” event involving several members of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity that almost led to Erickson’s death. In the early hours of Nov. 8, Erickson was rushed to the hospital after medics found him unresponsive and “nearly unable to breathe by himself,” according to the Des Moines police report. Police reports indicate his blood alcohol content was 0.500—nearly six times the .08 legal limit in Iowa.
Because of this event, the university suspended the chapter for four years, making the 11 members living in the house move out. Also, fraternity pledges were not given the opportunity to officially join the chapter.
With the Phi Delta Theta house empty, the Greek letters taken down and the fraternity effects placed in storage, fraternity alumni can look forward to a fresh start.
MAJOR DATES IN THE HAZING AFFAIRNov. 8Hazing takes place at a pledge dad event at “The Carter.”Nov. 16Drake suspends the Phi Delta Theta chapter for four years.Feb. 3Otto and Hatchett plead guilty to hazing charges.