Charges filed after hazing of student with deadly peanut allergy - WNEM TV 5

Charges filed after hazing of student with deadly peanut allergy

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A mother took to Facebook after learning her son was the target of an alleged hazing incident while attending Central Michigan University.

In her Facebook post Teresa Seely said her son Andrew Seely had a deadly peanut allergy and members of Alpha Chi Rho rubbed peanut butter on his face while he was passed out.

The alleged incident took place off of campus last fall.

"He could have been killed. He was sent to the campus health clinic by a professor and treated. Luckily he is still alive," her post said.

TV5 reached out to Andrew Seely, who no longer attends CMU, and he referred all questions to his attorney.

CMU has learned of the incident and said it took place off campus at Alpha Chi Rho. The organization was removed as a school fraternity in 2011 for hazing, the university said.

"We take such matters with utmost seriousness and pursue them thoroughly, so the CMU Police Department and CMU’s Office of Student Conduct responded immediately upon learning of this matter [Wednesday] morning and already have spoken with the individual’s mother," the university said in an email to TV5.

The Mt. Pleasant Police Department began investigating the issue on March 3. The complaint alleged Dale Merza, 20, smeared peanut butter on the face of a 19-year-old Marysville man who is severely allergic to peanuts.

The peanut butter caused the victim's face to become swollen and he had to seek medical treatment, the city of Mt. Pleasant said in a press release.

After the investigation a warrant was issued for Merza's arrest. He turned himself in on April 7.

Merza has been charged with hazing - resulting in physical injury, which is a 93 day misdemeanor. His bond was set at $5,000.

Fellow student Ronald Johnson said hazing needs to stop.

"I think that's something that shouldn't take place. I think hazing is a disgusting thing when you're trying to make friends with a group of people," Johnson said.

One student, who said she knows the defendant, said there are two sides to this story.

"Honestly, who knows if he even knew he had a peanut allergy and guys just being guys and all messing around," Katheryn Halvorsen said.

She said she has a lot of classes with Merza and he is not the type of person who would try and hurt someone.

"He's always been a good friend and he's always been nice to everyone around him. So I really think that hopefully this can get cleared up for him," Halvorsen said.

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