Case may be dismissed because he took fraternity pledge to hospital

Last updated: August 26. 2014 5:51PM - 485 Views
By - ghuffenberger@civitasmedia.com

Gary Huffenberger|Wilmington News JournalCole Voltz, left, prepares to sit at the defendant's table Friday and plead guilty to hazing. His attorney is Susan Zurface, right.
Gary Huffenberger|Wilmington News JournalCole Voltz, left, prepares to sit at the defendant's table Friday and plead guilty to hazing. His attorney is Susan Zurface, right.
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WILMINGTON — A Mount Sterling man pleaded guilty earlier this month to hazing last fall at Wilmington College, but will avoid a conviction on his record if he performs 40 hours community service.

On Aug. 15, Cole Voltz, 20, of Mount Sterling, pleaded guilty to hazing, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. However, prosecution offered him an opportunity to ultimately have the case against him dismissed outright because of his particular circumstances and conduct Oct. 30-1, both sides said.

Four other hazing cases were continued that day to future dates as charges against 14 defendants make their way through Clinton County Municipal Court.

The charge stems from a case involving a Wilmington College sophomore who received permanent injuries to his genitals due to a hazing ritual, according to a Wilmington police affidavit. Two other fraternity pledges getting initiated into Gamma Phi Gamma reportedly received bruises.

The incident happened at the Gamma Phi Gamma fraternity house (also known as the Gobbler house) near Wilmington College on Oct. 31, 2013.

In exchange for dismissing the case, Voltz first has to do 40 hours of community service and pay court costs. He paid court costs after the hearing, and plans to do the service work prior to a Dec. 18 date set by the judge, his attorney Susan Zurface said.

She said the evidence showed Voltz did not consume alcohol on the premises that night, that he arrived late, was occupied doing something else and not actively involved in the events of the night.

In addition, Voltz took the injured sophomore to the hospital and “I believe he actually stayed with him at the hospital for a significant period of time,” said Zurface.

Also entering a guilty plea Aug. 15 to misdemeanor hazing was Cody Sabins, 21, of Magnetic Springs. He was found guilty and sentenced to 40 hours of community service and fined $250 and court costs. A 30-day jail term was stayed and will be suspended if he completes the community service work by Dec. 18.

As part of his unsupervised probation, Sabins must go a year without committing a crime, including a “serious traffic” offense, according to court papers.

The four defendants who had requests granted to continue their cases were Austin Mueller of Maryland, Thomas Schweitzer II of Wilmington, Sage C. Streber of Wilmington and Casey Thompson of Liberty Township, Ohio.

They each are docketed to return to court in late September.

Three men pleaded guilty in June to hazing charges stemming from the pledging activity incidents at the fraternity house last fall. They are Maximilian A. Huprich of Amelia, Joey Brown of Dayton and Tyler Baker of Middletown. Huprich also pleaded guilty to an assault charge in the case.

Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds has banned the fraternity at least until the 2019-20 school year, when a petition can be submitted to return the organization to good standing, with no guarantee of approval.

Gary Huffenberger can be reached at 937-382-2574, ext. 2512 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.

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