Tyler Perino stood between his parents, Randy and Laura, while facing the judge in the Oxford Courthouse. A few rows behind him sat several former members of the Delta Tau Delta (Delts) fraternity, and just a few feet to his right stood another: Joshua Plaster, who had just pled guilty to hazing him.
Last March, Tyler was rushed to the hospital after returning home from the Delts Big/Little reveal, after telling his girlfriend to, “call 9-1-1, I feel like I’m going to die.” Tyler reported to Miami University’s Community Standards that he was slapped, kicked, spat on and forced to drink alcohol and smoke weed excessively. He was also beaten on the buttocks with a paddle until he bled internally.
After investigating, the university suspended Delts for 15 years, and the Butler County district attorney criminally charged 18 fraternity brothers with various counts of misdemeanor assault and hazing.
Tyler addressed the court and Plaster directly, recalling how he had first pledged Delts in the hopes of finding a supportive group of friends. Instead, he found himself abused.
He remembered one particular instance when another pledge told him that Plaster said he already hated his “little [brother]” — who would turn out to be Tyler.
“Josh, I want you to know,” Tyler said, “that I hate you, too.”
They appeared not to look at each other throughout the hearing.
Ten of the 18 former Delts charged in October pled guilty to hazing and received their sentences, which consisted mostly of fines, in court on Tuesday, Feb. 25 and Friday, Feb. 28.
The Perinos expressed with audible emotion how Plaster and the other Delts harmed them.
Tyler called Plaster an “asshole” and explained how the way his former big brother and fellow brothers treated him was “horrible and absolute barbaric behavior,” that caused Tyler physical, emotional and spiritual damage.
“I was drunk more often than not; my grades suffered,” he said. “I often felt very tired, sick and broken down.”
“It was an abusive relationship between my son and your fraternity,” Laura said. “He got out of it, but many do not.”
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Tyler emphasized his desire for hazing to end at Miami and nationally through the implementation of harsher punishment.
“I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me, but for this to never happen again,” he said. “I am a voice for kids that did not survive [hazing] similar to what happened to me.”
Along with Plaster, Hugh Webster, Michael Keen, Liam Newcomer, James MacKeigan, Scott Sidner, Nicholas Griswold, Jason Londa and Jonathan Rauch — all of whom were previously charged with one or more counts each of assault and hazing — each pled guilty to one count of hazing, and all other charges were dismissed.
Keen, Newcomer, Plaster, Sidner, Griswold and Londa each received a $250 fine and were sentenced to 30 days in jail. But the court suspended $150 for each former Delt and all 30 days of each sentence, meaning they will serve no jail time and will each only pay $100 in addition to court fees.
Rauch received the same sentence, but without suspension. This means he will serve jail time and pay the full $250. Rauch has a court date on March 10 to review his sentence, so there is still the possibility of suspension. Rauch’s attorney, Charles M. Rittgers, could not be reached for comment.
MacKeigan received the same sentence — $250 fine with $150 suspended and 30 days in jail suspended — like most of his former brothers, but MacKeigan was also placed on probation for one year. His lawyer, John Bernans, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Former Delts president Andrew Brinkman pleaded guilty to one count of hazing and received a sentence of 30 days in jail and a $250 dollar fine during his trial on Feb. 28, although the jail sentence was suspended.
Hugh Webster was Delts’ new member educator throughout the new member initiation process, meaning he was one of several people in charge of helping new members get to know their brothers. He acknowledged he had a greater responsibility than most of his former brothers and he received a slightly steeper sentence: a $200 total fine plus court fees instead of the $100 the other brothers received.
“When you take on that power, you take on that responsibility,” visiting Judge Thomas Hanna said during Webster’s court hearing.
Under Hanna’s questioning, Plaster, Tyler Perino’s former big, admitted his behavior was not how a big brother should treat his “family.”
Webster and Griswold also took their opportunity to address the court to say that they took full responsibility for their own actions.
Tyler Glowaski, another former Delt who was sentenced in December 2019, was given 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, although the jail sentence and $100 of the fine were suspended.
There are still seven former Delts who will be sentenced throughout the next three months: Grady McMichen, Samay Pahouja, Benjamin Grossheim, Bennett Faloni, Alex Niezyniecki, Connor Meek and Nicholas Carmichael.
McMichen’s next court date is yet to be determined, Meek will next appear in court sometime in May, Pahouja’s will be on June 1 and the remaining four will appear in court on March 10.
Additional reporting by news editor Erin Glynn and assistant news editors Tim Carlin and Briah Lumpkins.
This article has been updated to include information about Andrew Brinkman’s court hearing, which took place on Friday, Feb. 28.