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Pennsylvania State’s Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity is under investigation due to hazing that could have lead to the suicide of one their members.
CNN reports that 18-year-old Marquise Braham committed suicide on Friday by jumping off the roof of a Long Island Marriott hotel.
Marquise’s father Rich Braham described his son a good kid with a strong character. He's kind, gentle, fun, sarcastic," said Rich. "Just good to be around. His entire life was in Christ-centered education."
Ron Heller, chief of the Logan Township Police Department, said that Marquise may have been physically abused and hazed before he decided to take his own life.
"There are allegations of hazing, drug abuse, physical abuse and alcohol abuse,” said Heller. "Depending on the nature of what this hazing was, it could rise to an assault, and if this young man was distraught over what happened, whether he received hazing or was part of it, we can link that to the perpetrators. If we can link it, we can charge them."
Reuters added that Rich said Marquise was overwhelmed with the pledging process and reached out to a friend, a priest and his aunt before he committed suicide.
"He could not haze the other students. He expressed in text messages how uncomfortable he was doing that. He didn't think he could do that," said Rich. "He was a nice kid, a kind person."
There were photos on Marquise’s phone that described the acts the pledges had to endure, with one showing a pledge having a realistic-looking gun pointed at his head while blindfolded.
A text message on Marquise’s phone talked about a pledge having the option of trying cocaine or the bodily insertion of a sex toy. Marquise had to steal chips from a store while wearing a ski mask, while he was pledging.
Executive vice president of the Indianapolis-based Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, Michael Carey said that the Altoona chapter has been suspended. There will be an investigation conducted in order to get to the bottom of the hazing reports.