MOUNT PLEASANT (WWJ/AP) – A Central Michigan University student faces a hazing charge for allegedly smearing peanut butter on the face of a classmate with a severe peanut allergy.
Dale Merza, 20, of Rochester Hills, was charged with misdemeanor hazing resulting in physical injury.
In a Facebook post that went viral, Teresa Seely said the “hazing incident” happened last October at Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity. It went unreported for so long because her 19-year-old son Andrew only revealed the details recently, she said.
“He has a deadly peanut allergy and they rubbed peanut butter on his face while he was passed out,” Seely wrote. “He could have been killed. He was sent to the campus health clinic by a professor and treated. Luckily he is still alive.”
Police said the victim suffered facial swelling that required medical treatment. He has since transferred to a different school.
Merza has pleaded not guilty to the hazing charge. His attorney, Bruce Leach, says he’s confident that his client will be found innocent once the facts come out in court.
Merza previously told reporters he didn’t know about the allergy, and that it was a joke.
If convicted, Merza could face up to 93 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both under Michigan law.
Alpha Chi Rho is not a recognized fraternity at CMU; it was shut down in 2011 because of hazing incidents.
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