Parents of Cornell freshman found dead at bottom of a gorge after ‘dirty rush’ hazing night sue the college for turning blind eye and describe the seven rounds of binge-drinking games he was forced to endure
- Antonio Tsialas, 18, died in October last year after a night of brutal hazing
- He had been made to endure seven drinking games in seven different rooms
- It was part of the Phi Kappa Psi ‘Christmas in October’ ‘dirty rush’ pledge night
- They made him drink vodka, rum, beer and wine until he and others were ‘black out drunk’ and ‘vomiting’
- Antonio wandered off from the property and was found dead two days later
- His family’s lawyers say he died from multiple blunt force trauma to his body
- It is unknown how he sustained the trauma; he was found dead in a gorge
The parents of a Cornell freshman who was found dead at the bottom of a gorge after a hazing prank are suing the college and the fraternity he was joining the night he died.
Antonio Tsialas died in October last year after a night of brutal drinking and hazing with Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in Ithaca, New York, at a ‘Christmas in October’ party.
His body was found in a gorge and he had high levels of alcohol in his system but his family’s attorney says his cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma to the body. They do not know how he sustained it.
In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, his parents accuse the university of turning a blind eye to the school’s hazing culture and they name many of the fraternity’s members, claiming they did nothing to save their son’s life.
Antonio, 18, was found at the bottom of a gorge, a day after his mother reported him missing.
Flavia and John Tsialas with their son Antonio before his death in October. The 18-year-old had only been at Cornell for eight weeks when he died after a ‘Christmas in October’ ‘dirty rush’ night
Antonio’s body was found in this gorge two days after he vanished. He died of multiple blunt force trauma
In their lawsuit, his family says that on the night of his death, Antonio and the other boys had gone through various rounds of drinking in the fraternity house.
He had been at dinner with his mom then was picked up for a ‘dirty rush’ at the frat house where new pledges were forced to complete seven drinking games in seven different rooms.
There was a tropical room – where they had alcohol poured in their mouths while going under a limbo – a beer room, a wine room, and the ‘Jewish room’ – which ‘was set up to look like a bar mitzvah’ with a pyramid of glasses of vodka and beer.
There was also a ‘milk and rum room’ – where milk and rum were mixed together and they had to race to finish cups of the concoction – and the Santa Claus room.
Someone in the fraternity had dressed up as Santa and the freshman would ‘have to sit on his lap to be told whether he had been naughty or nice.
‘Santa’s proclamation determined what type of alcohol the freshmen then had to drink.
There was also the ‘lounge’ where they finished the rounds of drinking games with a shot of whipped cream to the mouth and more alcohol.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in Ithaca, New York, where the party took place
By the end of the seven rounds, the lawsuit says, many of the boys were ‘black out drunk’ and ‘vomiting’, the lawsuit says.
At some stage, he was able to wander out of the house alone. No one knows how he got to the gorge.
Antonio’s parents say the college let him down
The next day, when his mother reported him missing, the lawsuit claims the fraternity president Andrew Scherr was ‘panicking’ and telling people: ‘If anyone asks you, don’t tell them he came to our house.’
The parents say that the college has a long history of allowing hazing and that the fraternity and its members tried to cover up what happened to their son.
Antonio’s cause of death is yet to be publicly stated.
An autopsy confirmed that he was drunk when he died. It remains unknown how he got into the gorge or what specifically killed him.
His parents hired their own private investigator to find answers surrounding his death.
Now they are suing Cornell, the fraternity and eight individuals for damages, claiming negligence.