Crime

Second former Beta Theta Pi frat brother sentenced in Penn State hazing case

Former Beta Theta Pi brother arrives for sentencing

Former Beta Theta Pi brother Joseph Ems Jr. arrives for his sentencing at the Courthouse Annex Thursday morning.
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Former Beta Theta Pi brother Joseph Ems Jr. arrives for his sentencing at the Courthouse Annex Thursday morning.

The second former Beta Theta Pi fraternity brother to plead guilty avoided house arrest on Thursday.

Judge Brian Marshall sentenced Joseph Ems Jr. to 12 months of probation, 100 hours of community service and was fined $1,500.

The 22-year-old from Philadelphia pleaded guilty to one count of hazing and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor in August. He gave pledge Thaddeus Lorenz a bottle of Burnett’s pink lemonade vodka to drink from in the basement of the fraternity house.

Marshall allowed Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Zarallo to play video of Ems’ conduct toward Timothy Piazza — despite objections from Ems’ attorney John Abom — because it would allow him to “consider the character of the individual.”

“This isn’t an aberration at all for Mr. Ems,” Zarallo said as the video played. “He took great joy in it.”

Abom disagreed and pointed to what he believes is a “sentencing disparity.”

He cited Craig Heimer and Reginald Goeke as two former fraternity brothers who were enrolled in the accelerated disposition program with similar charges.

Ems apologized when he addressed Marshall prior to sentencing and called himself “a young boy who made bad decisions.”

“Going through something like that forces someone to grow up and change,” Ems said. “I carry regret on my shoulders. Unfortunately, I can’t change the past and this is a burden I will bear for the rest of my life.”

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