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Three charged in Dhanens’ death

By | March 13, 2013 | Front page, Multimedia, News, Video

Misdemeanor charges have been filed against three Fresno State undergraduate students. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth A. Egan announced the charges Tuesday morning.

Each student has been charged with two misdemeanors in connection to the death of Fresno State freshman Philip Dhanens on Aug. 31, 2012. Leonard Serrato, 28, Aaron Raymo, 24, and Daniel Baker, 22, have been charged with “hazing and providing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age proximately causing death.”

According to the indictment from the Fresno County Superior Court, Serrato, Raymo and Baker took part in “unlawful hazing.” The document also states the three men purchased and gave alcohol to a minor.

At the Tuesday morning press conference, Dyer said the Fresno Police Department conducted 67 interviews and worked 700 investigative hours to come to its conclusion on the charges.

Paul Oliaro, vice president of student affairs at Fresno State, said the university was informed Monday evening of the charges filed against the three men.

Oliaro said the student’s degree-completion eligibility is yet to be determined.

“We were asked to not take any action until they had completed their investigation and had decided what the district attorney office would do,” Oliaro said. “Now that they’ve made their decision, we will take their report and determine what kind of actions will be taken based on our own code of conduct.”

The universities actions could vary depending on the internal investigation. Oliaro said consequences are dependent upon the university’s discipline process. Possible consequences range from academic probation to suspension or even expulsion.

“At this point in time there’s no effort to try to project what would happen,” Oliaro said. “The process has to unfold. Students have rights. Those rights will be respected, and we just need to let the process unfold over the next few weeks.”

ABC 30 News reported Dhanens died in what was known as the “drunk room” of the Theta Chi fraternity house. A pledge of Theta Chi, Dhanens as well as other pledges were told by Serrato, Raymo and Baker to finish bottles of whiskey, tequila, rum and brandy before they could join the fraternity’s party in another room, reported ABC 30.

Its charter having been revoked, Fresno State’s Theta Chi chapter has dissolved. The Theta Chi fraternity house where Dhanens died has since removed the Greek letter signifying affiliation. Theta Chi’s alumni association owns the house.

Egan stated in a press release that no other fraternity brothers were charged in the case. In the same press release, it was stated the charges against the three men carry jail time between six month and one year, and a $5,000 fine.

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