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FOX 8 legal analyst: Potential hazing death could lead to criminal charges

18-year-old Maxwell Gruver (Source: Facebook) 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver (Source: Facebook)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti believes the incident at LSU being investigated as a potential hazing death could lead to criminal charges if others are found to be involved. 

"This could become negligent homicide very easily. You have a death that was caused by the negligence of someone else. You allowed someone to get in a situation by whatever the facts may be, by drinking too much, by falling somewhere, you were negligent in allowing their death to occur," Raspanti said. 

LSU freshman Max Gruver died Thursday after an incident at the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Gruver was pledging to be a part of the organization. Now, LSU police are investigating Gruver's death as a possible hazing incident. 

Louisiana does have a law that prohibits hazing. If found guilty, someone would face a fine up to $100, 30 days in jail and possible expulsion from a university.

Friday, the East Baton Rouge coroner released the preliminary results of Gruver's autopsy that showed elevated levels of alcohol in his system as well as the presence of THC, which is in marijuana. 

"Often when you have one victim of hazing, there actually are 18-20 bystanders who are also affected in some way who have may be been drinking alcohol or partaking in the use of illicit substances," Clery Center's Alison Kiss said. 

The Clery Center is an organization aimed at making college campuses safer. 

A national study out of Maine found 55 percent of college students involved in clubs, teams or organizations identified some form of hazing at their institution.

Kiss said there are cases where criminal charges have been filed.

"There was another recent case at Penn State in Pennsylvania where we saw students charged and that's still going through the criminal process. I think that will be a growing trend as we see these cases continually getting more and more egregious," she said. 

The Clery Center is pushing for federal laws that would make harsher penalties for hazing incidents.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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