Former University of Missouri Pledge family questions why prosecutors aren’t charging fraternity with bullying


The family of Daniel Santulli, the Phi Gamma Delta conscript who was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning in October, is asking Boone County prosecutors why harassment isn’t among the criminal charges against active fraternity members.

Santulli lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, but is blind and cannot communicate or walk, said David Bianchi, the Santulli family attorney.

The incident that hospitalized Santulli has resulted in the fraternity being discredited, 13 MU students being disciplined on campus and a fraternity member being prosecuted.

Alec B. Wetzler is charged in Boone County with the misdemeanor count of supplying alcohol to a minor or an intoxicated person and the purchase or possession of alcohol by a minor. A court hearing for Wetzler is scheduled for July 7 at 1:30 p.m.

Wetzler is accused of providing alcohol to 18-year-old Santulli and other promises on Oct. 19 during an event dubbed the “Promise Father Reveal” at the former home of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) on Kentucky Boulevard.

A probable cause statement by university police shows officials suspect there is enough evidence to charge Wetzler with a Class D felony under Missouri’s anti-hazing statute, but prosecutors only charged him with providing alcohol to a minor.

Santulli’s family and attorney have asked prosecutors why there are no charges of harassment.

“If you don’t enforce the harassment laws in Missouri under these circumstances and are never going to enforce them, you might as well just repeal the law,” Bianchi said.

Boone County prosecutors did not respond to ABC 17’s questions about the charges.

According to court documents, Santulli was taken to the hospital shortly before 12:50 a.m. on October 20 by fraternity members with suspected alcohol poisoning. Santulli was reportedly unresponsive and not breathing when he was taken to the hospital.

University of Missouri Police Department officials said a witness told them Santulli drank three-fourths of a fifth of vodka.

Police said the promise Wetzler bought whiskey to share the bottle with Santulli. According to court records, surveillance footage from the fraternity house also shows Wetzler handing Santulli a beer bong.

The footage describes other events from the night. Court documents say the pawns had bottles of alcohol strapped to their hands, sprayed with ketchup and mustard, tripped and hit with a box.

Police said security footage showed several Pledge members throwing up after drinking too much.

Ryan Delanty, Santullis’ father, wrote to another person late on Oct. 19 that his son was “dead,” according to court records. Delanty reportedly responded that he left Santulli after the person asked what he had done to him.

No charges were filed against Delanty at the last review.

Police recommended charges under Missouri’s anti-hazing statute, which could be a felony. Bianchi said he didn’t understand why the investigation hadn’t brought more serious charges and that MU police had given prosecutors a 125-page report of their findings.

The University of Missouri stopped recognizing Phi Gamma Delta as a fraternity in October. The school proposed sanctions against more than a dozen students after investigating the incident. The Phi Gamma Delta National Organization also withdrew the chapter from MU shortly after the incident.

Santulli’s family settled a lawsuit against 23 defendants last month. The family accused the defendants of not checking Santulli or calling 911 before he was taken to the hospital.

Bianchi said last month that Santulli caused more than $1.6 million in medical bills. He filed a petition last week to add two more defendants to the lawsuit over Santulli’s poisoning.

A motion hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Comments are closed.