NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The father of a Long Island college student who committed suicide earlier this month after allegedly carrying out hazing activities has appealed to his son’s fraternity brothers to come forward with what they know.
“These kids are being quiet now. They’re being told to, they’re afraid,” Richard Braham told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “They need to speak up for their dead brother.”
As the Braham family prepares to bury their son, an investigation is now being launched in two states into whether allegations of college fraternity hazing is connected to the suicide of 18-year-old Marquise Braham.
Marquise Braham was a freshman at Penn State Altoona and a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.
While home for spring break earlier this month, Braham jumped off the roof of the Uniondale Marriott.
“What caused him to jump off that roof was the fraternity and the hazing activities and rituals within that fraternity,” Braham told McLogan. “Excessive drinking, the drug use, the physical violence to one another, those were things that were not Marquise…this kid had been in Christian education all of his life.”
Braham was known for his intelligence, compassion and life of service, according to former Kellenberg Memorial High School classmates and teachers, McLogan reported.
“He was an officer of this fraternity. He then had to mete out the punishment and the hazings to these kids. He couldn’t do it. There’s evidence of that,” Braham told McLogan.
Police in Pennsylvania have collected pledge cellphone photos that may show vomiting, urination and sexually abusive games.
“He left a note behind. They have found texts or messages on his cellphone. So obviously, we’ll be in touch with them also as soon as we can,” said Police Chief Ron Heller of the Logan Township, Penn. Police.
The alleged hazing in Phi Sigma Kappa took place off campus at Penn State Altoona.
Students are slowly coming forward with information, McLogan reported.
“Penn State Altoona takes allegations of hazing and violations of our student conduct very seriously, which is why the fraternity was placed on suspension,” Penn State Altoona Chancellor Lori Bechtel-Wherry said.
Police in Nassau County now have Braham’s cell phone and laptop and are sharing information with Pennsylvania authorities.
“We had no idea that when we sent Marquise away to school that he’d come back to us and he’d be in a box,” Braham told McLogan.
Phi Sigma Kappa leaders say they are all devastated but deny any hazing.
Some members now have hired lawyers, concerned about potential criminal charges stemming from the death of their fraternity brother.
During lunch on the last day of his life, Marquise Braham told his family he wanted to see a priest.
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