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Prosecutors drop assault charges in Penn State hazing death

Beta Theta Pi Fraternity House (WJAC)

BELLEFONTE - Pennsylvania prosecutors are dropping all assault charges against members of a now-closed Penn State fraternity in the hazing death of a pledge, sparing defendants the most serious allegations any had faced.

The attorney general's office announced Thursday that it will continue to pursue involuntary manslaughter charges against five former members of Beta Theta Pi in the February 2017 death of 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey. But those don't carry the lengthy prison sentences that some of the assault charges did.

The state is now handling the case on referral from a new county district attorney.

A judge had thrown out the most serious charges in September but the county prosecutor at the time refiled them, including eight felony counts of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors are still reviewing the case, which involves 26 defendants.

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