Two men have been charged in connection to what has been called the “worst hazing injury ever” at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
This past Friday, a grand jury in Boone County, Missouri, indicted Ryan Patrick Delanty, age 20, and Thomas Andrew Shultz, age 21, for the alleged felony hazing of 19-year-old freshman Daniel Santulli, who has been left blind, speechless, and immobile as a result of his injuries.
The pair were also charged with the misdemeanor offense of supplying liquor to a minor or intoxicated person. Schultz also faces a felony charge for tampering with physical evidence.
Santulli’s parents, Thomas and Mary Pat, have also sued the fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, the owner of the house where the hazing occurred, and 23 fraternity members. According to Fox News, all parties have already settled out of court save for two members.
“It’s the worst fraternity hazing injury ever in the United States,” Santulli family attorney, David Bianchi, told the St. Louis Dispatch. “We’ve been doing these cases for 30 years. I know the landscape of hazing. I know the defense lawyers who defend the fraternities. And everyone agrees this is the worst ever.”
— New York Post (@nypost) June 20, 2022
According to the lawsuit, Santulli sustained near-fatal injuries on October 19, 2021, during the fraternity’s “Pledge Dad Reveal Night.” Santulli had been participating in the rush process that reportedly left him “sleep-deprived and stressed” to the point of tears. Just two days before the alleged incident, Santulli’s parents pleaded with him to quit the rush process after he cried to his sister about the stress over the phone. Among other humiliating tasks, Santulli had been ordered repeatedly “to clean the brothers’ rooms and bring food, alcohol and marijuana to them at all hours of the night,” the lawsuit alleges. Santulli had also been ordered to climb into a trash can with broken glass inside. He sustained a cut on his foot that required stitches and forced him to use crutches.
“Danny, however, was not a quitter, and, like so many pledges before him, did not want to be humiliated and ridiculed by those whose ranks he was trying to join. The defendants knew this and had seen it all before,” the lawsuit claims.
On the night of the incident, the lawsuit alleges that Thomas Andrew Shultz, the fraternity president, picked up alcohol that was used in the hazing of Santulli. Per Fox News:
Delanty, named Santulli’s pledge dad, handed him a family size bottle of vodka and ordered him to finish it.
Another fraternity brother, Alec Wetzler of St. Louis, poured beer through a funnel into Santulli’s mouth.
Santulli was left on a couch with a blood alcohol level of .468, and the lawsuit says another member witnessed his deteriorating condition but did nothing. Santulli slid off the couch and his face landed on the floor, with his skin pale and lips blue. Members eventually drove him to a hospital, where medical staff noted he stopped breathing, and his heart had stopped. He was revived and placed on a ventilator.
Though Santulli was eventually able to breathe on his own several days later, the lawsuit alleges he remained “unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings, unable to communicate and had a significant injury to his brain.”
Santulli’s condition has not improved since the incident.
The University of Missouri-Columbia said in a May press release that the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity chapter has been removed from the campus roster.