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Judge Drops Charges In Frat House Brokeback Hazing Case

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Judge Drops Charges In Frat House Brokeback Hazing Case

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 29, 2006 3:00 pm ET

(Burlington, Vermont) A judge has dismissed charges against four University of Vermont students accused of violating the state's anti-hazing law when they participated in a frat house event where pledges were made to dress up as gay cowboys.

It was the first time charges had been laid under the law passed in 2000. University officials say they may ask the district attorney's office to appeal the ruling.

Judge Charon True found that the prosecution had failed to show that the incident constituted hazing as it is defined in the law or that the alleged incident had harmed students.

The university said it will continue with its own investigation and disciplinary action. The fraternity, Phi Delta Gamma chapter has bee suspended.

The incident occurred in March. Fraternity members required pledges to wear cowboy clothes in a theme inspired by the movie "Brokeback Mountain." Pledges then allegedly were taunted with homophobic comments.

Four students, all members of the fraternity and all 21 at the time, were charged and given tickets in May. Had they been convicted they would have faced fines of up to $1000.

One pledge told police that he was offended by the theme of the event, "but went along with it". Others at the party said they heard frat members call the pledges "fag" and "faggot."

While the university continues its own probe and considers asking for an appeal a lawyer for three of the students said his clients are considering a defamation suit against the school.

©365Gay.com 2006

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