Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth A. Egan was joined by Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer as she detailed the charges filed against 28-year–old Leonard Louis Serrato, 24-year-old Aaron Joseph Raymo and 22-year-old Daniel Woodard Baker who were members of the now closed Fresno Chapter of the Theta Chi Fraternity for their actions in the hazing death of California State University, Fresno student Philip Dhanens on August 31, 2012.
According to DA Egan, Philip Dhanens, an eighteen year old freshman from Bakersfield, CA, drank a deadly amount of alcohol during the initiation of new members into the Theta Chi fraternity.
Today, March 12, 2013, District Attorney Egan filed a complaint charging each defendant with Misdemeanor violations of Penal Code Section 245.6(a), Hazing, and of Business and Profession Code Section 25658(c), Providing Alcohol to a Person Under 21 Years of Age Proximately Causing Death.
While these defendants have no prior criminal history and the evidence does not show that they intended for Mr. Dhanens to die, their actions led to deadly results requiring criminal intervention to hold them accountable. No charges were brought against other members of the fraternity. The charges carry a jail sentence of six months to one year in custody and a fine of up to $5000.
During the fraternity event, Mr. Dhanens was provided with enough alcohol for his blood alcohol to reach a level of .40, a toxic amount that is more than five times the blood alcohol level to legally operate a vehicle in California. The Coroner’s office confirmed that the death of Philip Dhanens was due to acute alcohol poisoning.
Serrato, Raymo and Baker will be scheduled for arraignment in Superior Court.