Crime

Former Penn State football trainer will not face perjury charges in Beta Theta Pi case

Former Penn State Assistant Athletic Director Tim Bream walks to the courthouse before his hearing in August 2017 in Bellefonte.
Former Penn State Assistant Athletic Director Tim Bream walks to the courthouse before his hearing in August 2017 in Bellefonte. Marina Cotarel

Former live-in Beta Theta Pi adviser Tim Bream will not be charged with perjury related to his testimony in the case.

In May, attorney Peter Sala, who represents former fraternity brother Joseph Sala, filed a private criminal complaint requesting that District Attorney Bernie Cantorna pursue charges against Bream including perjury and recklessly endangering another person.

But alleged falsehoods in his testimony did not entail a reasonable likelihood of affecting the outcome of the preliminary hearings in connection with Timothy Piazza's death, according to Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw.

Cantorna's office also found that Sala's private criminal complaint was devoid of allegations supporting a recklessly endangering another person charge against Bream.

"Bream's sworn denial of knowledge about various fraternity events is contradicted by statements made to (State College police) detective (David) Scicchitano by other involved actors," McGraw wrote to Sala. "Because those denials may have been an effort by Bream to evade culpability, further investigation is necessary to determine who was telling the truth."

McGraw's letter said Sala did, however, establish the possibility that Bream furnished alcohol to minors and made unsworn falsifications to authorities.

McGraw said the matter will be referred to the State College Police Department for further inquiry and will lean on the materials and resources possessed by the Office of the Attorney General.

"Allegations that Bream facilitated the consumption of alcohol by minors may support a prosecution for furnishing alcohol to minors if supported by evidence sufficient to establish accomplice liability," McGraw said. "Yet such a charge would, as with the unsworn falsification allegation, depend on the credibility of the actors who supplied detective Scicchitano with the information. Those credibility determinations are, again, best made by the State College police in conjunction with the Attorney General."

The denial of perjury and recklessly endangering another person charges may be appealed to the Court of Common Pleas within 30 days. Sala's request for unsworn falsification and furnishing alcohol to minors charges are held in abeyance pending further investigation.

Tom Kline, attorney for Jim and Evelyn Piazza, said the upcoming criminal trial for several former fraternity brothers represents and important juncture.

"While we believe that Mr. Bream ultimately must answer for his role (in) the events that led to Tim Piazza's death, we believe it is important at this important juncture — with the upcoming criminal trial — not to be sidetracked by blame shifting by those who are charged," Kline said. "The Piazza family remains resolute in their quest for justice against all who enabled this tragedy."

Bream, who resigned in February as Penn State's assistant athletic director and as the Nittany Lion's head football trainer, is currently serving as the director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Attorney for Beta Theta Pi fraternity member Joe Sala, Leonard Ambrose, calls out Penn State head athletic trainer Tim Bream and his involvement in the alcohol gauntlet that led to the death of fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza. Piazza family attor

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