Two St. Louis County men indicted in Mizzou hazing that left freshman blind, unable to speak or walk | Law and order

Two men from St. Louis County were indicted Friday in the hazing of a University of Missouri-Columbia freshman that left him blind, unable to walk or speak, and with massive brain damage after drinking a liter of vodka during a fraternity event in October.

A Boone County grand jury indicted Ryan Delanty, of Manchester, and Thomas Shultz, of Chesterfield, in the hazing of Daniel Santulli, 19, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, outside Minneapolis.

Delanty and Shultz were charged with felony hazing as well as misdemeanors of supplying liquor to a minor or intoxicated person. Shultz is 21. Delanty is about 20; his exact age was not available.

Santulli is being cared for at home by his parents, Thomas and Mary Pat, who have filed civil cases against the fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, the owner of the fraternity house, and its members.

“It’s as horrible as it could possibly be and (have him) still be alive,” said Santulli family’s attorney, David Bianchi, of a Miami firm specializing in hazing cases. “It’s the worst fraternity hazing injury ever in the United States. We’ve been doing these cases for 30 years. I know the landscape of hazing. I know the defense lawyers who defend the fraternities. And everyone agrees this is the worst ever.”

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Bianchi originally filed civil lawsuits against 23 members of the fraternity, and all but two have settled out of court. He said that he hopes there will be more indictments, but that’s up to the Boone County prosecutor.

“There are probably another dozen or more fraternity members who were responsible for this hazing event,” he said. Shultz was the fraternity vice president who picked up the vodka for that night, and Delanty gave it to Santulli, the attorney said.

Santulli had played basketball and baseball in high school and was the high school hockey team’s manager, and had been recruited by a fraternity member over the summer. The fraternity claimed to have a strict “no alcohol” policy in its chapter houses, the suit says, but it was well-known that members “had been conducting themselves contrary to those values ​​for years.”

On the night of Oct. 19, 2021, Santulli went to the chapter house for “Pledge Dad Reveal Night,” the suit says. Santulli had been sleep-deprived and stressed over pledge events from the previous month, and had been “repeatedly ordered to clean the brothers’ rooms and bring food, alcohol and marijuana to them at all hours of the night.” During one night, he had been ordered to climb inside a trash can with broken glass inside, and got a bad cut on his foot from him as a result. He had to get stitches and use crutches.

Two nights before the hazing, he broke down crying to his sister about the stress, and his parents told him he should quit the pledge process.

“Danny, however, was not a quitter,” the suit continues, “and, like so many pledges before him, did not want to be humiliated and ridiculed by those whose ranks he was trying to join. The defendants knew this and had seen it all before.”

Delanty, Santulli’s “pledge dad,” handed Santulli a family-sized bottle of Tito’s vodka during the reveal night and told him to drink it, and another member, Alec Wetzler of St. Louis, also poured beer into his mouth with a funnel and tube, the suit says. Santulli was left sitting on a couch with a blood alcohol level of .468, and another member saw he was deteriorating but failed to help him.

Wetzler was charged in June with misdemeanor counts of supplying alcohol to a minor and possession of alcohol by a minor.

Santulli eventually slid partially off the couch and ended up with his face on the floor, his skin pale and lips blue. Members drove him to a hospital where hospital staff saw he was not breathing and his heart dele had stopped. Medical staff revived him and placed him on a ventilator.

“Days later he was removed from the ventilator and started breathing on his own but he was unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings, unable to communicate and had a significant injury to his brain. He remains in that condition for this day,” the suit says.

That chapter of Phi Gamma Delta has since been removed from campus and the university said in a press release in May that 13 students had been disciplined, but didn’t specify how.

“Safety of the Mizzou community is our highest priority, and we must address alcohol use and other concerns in holistic ways to provide education and services that work together to support safer behavior and an overall culture,” Mun Choi, University of Missouri president, said in the release. “In our conversation with student leaders, they are 100 percent with us in making our campus even safer for everyone, but there is continued work to do.”

Shultz also faces an additional felony charge of tampering with physical evidence. Court documents say Shultz lives in the 14000 block of Boxford Court in Chesterfield; Delanty in the 700 block of Andrew Ryan Lane in Manchester. Bond was set at $50,000 each.

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