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Newsletter > January 2010 > "DEATH AT PENN STATE LEADS TO CHARGES AGAINST ATO AND FIJI CHAPTERS AND 2 STUDENTS"
DEATH AT PENN STATE LEADS TO CHARGES AGAINST ATO AND FIJI CHAPTERS AND 2 STUDENTS
Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke
Joseph Dado, an 18-year-old freshman at Penn State, was found dead on September 21, 2009 on campus. He was missing for almost 40 hours before he was found at the bottom of a stairwell. He died of head trauma and the Centre County coroner ruled his death an accident. It is believed that he fell about 15 feet from a ledge that connects two campus buildings.
Mr. Dado’s death was featured extensively in the NPR show “This American Life.” A recurring theme was how unremarkable Mr. Dado’s evening was to many students. Mr. Dado had a few drinks in his dorm room, he then headed to his sister’s off campus apartment for a few more drinks. He then went to the Alpha Tau Omega chapter house for a few more drinks. He eventually ended up at the Phi Gamma Delta house, where he had a few more drinks. Mr. Dado left FIJI in the early morning hours to walk back to his dorm. He was not seen alive again. His blood alcohol content was .169, or more than twice the legal driving limit in Pennsylvania.
The State College Borough Police and the Penn State Police then conducted a five-week, joint investigation into the source of Mr. Dado’s alcohol. On October 29th, criminal charges were filed against the ATO and FIJI chapters for selling or furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to minors, in violation of Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Title 18, Section 6310.1, and for unlawful acts relative to liquor, malt and brewed beverage and licensees for furnishing alcohol to Mr. Dado, in violation of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, Title 47, Section 4-493. FIJI was also charged with one other count of furnishing alcohol to a minor one week prior to Mr. Dado’s death. That incident was uncovered in the investigation into Mr. Dado’s death.
Additionally, Jack Townsend, a member of FIJI, and Jennifer Clifford, a roommate of Mr. Dado’s sister, were charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor.