Tim Piazza’s dad tells Trev — ‘They left him for dead’
Jim Piazza continues to deal with the pain of his son Timothy's death, which has been blamed on a night of fraternity hazing at Penn State.
"Let's be clear: They were not his brothers," he told me when we spoke on my show Wednesday night. "He was not part of the fraternity yet. I question whether he would have made it through once he got to know the individuals of that particular fraternity."
You can hear the pain in Piazza's voice when he says "They left him for dead. They treated him like roadkill and a ragdoll throughout the night, and were just not good guys."
Criminal charges have been filed against more than a dozen fraternity members in the wake of Timothy Piazza's death. Authorities have said the night Piazza died, the Hunterdon Central Regional graduate and other pledges were part of a initiation called a “gauntlet,” which involved drinking “enormous” amounts of alcohol.
A video of events that night shows him being moved to a couch, where investigators say he was so ill he looked corpse-like. He tries to get up several times and falls down repeatedly. Eventually, he fell down the stairs a second time hours later in the morning.
The Piazzas have received "incredible support from family and friends and support from people throughout the country," Jim Piazza told me. They have received "thousands of letters from people we don't know, and every day I come home and I'm reading another letter from somebody else who's keeping us in their thoughts and prayers, and we appreciate it."
Piazza says it gives the family strength to try to see this all through, and hopefully make a difference — which he is now doing, as a national spokesman against hazing.
"Hazing is illegal. It shouldn't be out there, and I think young men in schools feel entitled that they can do it and it was done to them, and I think this particular group of kids, they took it to a different degree overall," he said.
But, Piazza said, "it's illegal, it shouldn't be done, it should be banned. There needs to be stronger federal and state laws associated with it, which we're working on."
Piazza is also not satisfied with the way Penn State is handling his son's death.
"From the first time I met the president of the university, he pretty much said that that particular fraternity was a farce and that they had been doing things for a long time without the university knowing," he said.
But, Jim Piazza said, "the university has done some positive things so far. There's a long way to go. They're talking about doing other things. People have the perception they have already done them. They have not."
"I think they're trying to wait it out, but we're not going away. We have an obligation to all the people who have kids going to college. I'm very motivated to make Penn State do the right things and the administration needs to step up."
You'll hear more when you listen to the video.
What would Piazza like to see happen to the 18 facing criminal charges?
"We'll let the legal system play out. I don't want to speculate. I don't want to be the judge nor the jury, I just want justice to be served and deterrents for anything like this ever happening in the future," Jim Piazza said.
Tim was going to school to one day be able to market prosthetics. To honor that, the Timothy J. Piazza Memorial Foundation has been established with a benefit golf outing Aug. 15 "to give out scholarships and mostly help those people in need of prosthetic devices to get them in particular children and wounded soldiers because that's what Tim talked about."
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