Crime

Second former Beta Theta Pi fraternity brother pleads guilty in Penn State hazing case

Beta Theta Pi brother Joseph Ems Jr. leaves the Centre County Courthouse Annex on Aug. 8, 2018 after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the investigation into Timothy Piazza’s hazing death.
Beta Theta Pi brother Joseph Ems Jr. leaves the Centre County Courthouse Annex on Aug. 8, 2018 after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the investigation into Timothy Piazza’s hazing death. Centre Daily Times, file

A second former Beta Theta Pi fraternity brother entered an open guilty plea on Wednesday to charges stemming from the investigation into Timothy Piazza’s death.

Joseph Ems Jr. gave 19-year-old pledge Thaddeus Lorenz a bottle of Burnett’s pink lemonade vodka in the basement of the fraternity house. He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of hazing and one misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

The charges are not related to Piazza, according to the information filed by the Office of the Attorney General.

The 22-year-old from Philadelphia is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Brian Marshall on Sept. 27.

Marshall — the judge assigned to all non-trial matters — sentenced “rush chair” Ryan Burke to three months of house arrest, 27 months of probation, 100 hours of community service and fined him more than $3,000 on July 31.

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Burke pleaded guilty to nine charges — including four misdemeanor counts of hazing — on June 13. One of the four hazing charges was associated with Lorenz and Marshall ultimately sentenced Burke to 12 months of probation and at least a $200 fine for the charge.

Jay Abom, one of Ems’ two attorneys, declined to comment after Wednesday’s court appearance.

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