Ex-fraternity member pleads guilty to hazing in pledge death

Posted at 2:50 PM, December 21, 2021 and last updated 9:03 PM, July 21, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia Commonwealth University student pleaded guilty Tuesday to hazing and serving alcohol to a minor shortly before the 19-year-old fraternity pledge died from alcohol poisoning earlier this year.

Andrew White, 23, of Dulles pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors in Richmond Circuit Court, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The charges are both punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. White wasn’t sentenced Tuesday.

White is one of 11 former Delta Chi members charged in Adam Oakes’ February death and the only one to plead guilty in the case. All 11 were charged with unlawful hazing of a student and four were also charged with buying and giving alcohol to a minor.

Oakes’ parents, Eric and Linda, and cousin attended the plea hearing.

A prosecutor identified White as Oakes’ “big brother” in the fraternity. The police investigation found that Oakes was told to drink a large bottle of whiskey and the freshman from Loudoun County was found dead the next morning. The office of the chief medical examiner ruled that Oakes’ death was caused by alcohol poisoning.

Richmond police, campus police and the university launched investigations in the aftermath. VCU expelled the fraternity in June.

In September, the university announced that it would ban alcohol at fraternity and sorority events, publish misconduct instances online and pause new member recruitment. On the same day, two investigations of university Greek life on campus were released, finding that there are concerns about hazing and binge drinking at the university and staff has struggled to address them.

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