A man was charged Monday for allegedly hazing a Central Michigan University student with a severe peanut allergy by smearing peanut butter on his face, prosecutors said.
Dale Merza, 20, of Rochester Hills, turned himself in to police on Friday, according to Isabella County Prosecutor’s office. He was charged with hazing that resulted in physical injury.
Merza is accused of smearing peanut butter on Andrew Seely’s face while he was passed out at Alpha Chi Rho — an off-campus fraternity at the university — last October, police said. Seely, 19, was a freshman at the time.
The incident caught nationwide attention in March when Seely’s mother, Teresa Seely, posted a photo of her son’s face after the alleged hazing incident, FOX 2 Detroit reported.
He could have been killed, she wrote in the Facebook post, adding that she didn’t find out about the incident until five months later.
“He was sent to the campus health clinic by a professor and treated. Luckily, he is still alive,” she said.
Andrew Seely transferred to another college after the incident, though his mother did not reveal which school over fear of retaliation, according to The Detroit Free Press.
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Merza’s lawyer said Monday that Merza was innocent and is not guilty of hazing Seely.
“This case has been blown way out of proportion by the individual’s family members, who were not present and don’t have any of the facts,” his lawyer told the Detroit Free Press.
Merza faces 93 days in jail and $1,000 if convicted, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Alpha Chi Rho said in a statement in March that it was “appalled and upset” by the alleged hazing.
“Alpha Chi Rho does not condone this type of behavioror any form of hazingand it stands in conflict with our mission to cultivate men of character, honor and integrity,” the statement read.
In 2011, the national fraternity was banned from CMU’s campus for hazing incidents, according to the Detroit Free Press.
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