According to Boston police, MIT’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity house was being “operated as a nightclub” on Sunday night, complete with a DJ and strobe lights. The fraternity failed to obtain the City of Boston License Division’s approval, but the problems don’t stop there. Underage drinking, a waterfall pouring down a marble staircase, and other hazardous conditions have resulted in the issuance of a violation to the fraternity’s president.
The inspection of the premises came after Boston police saw a “line of approximately 40 college-aged persons awaiting entry” into the fraternity house. During the inspection, detectives talked to a fraternity member who was stationed at the front door to record the number of people inside the building. When asked by police, he responded that there were 116 people inside.
Staircase Waterfalls and Underage Drinking
Upon entering the house, detectives found an 18-year-old man drinking a beer, and discovered that the first floor was operating as an unlicensed nightclub. They also found the building’s occupancy to be “well in excess” of the posted limit, which is 39 persons. The waterfall, which had been installed on an upper floor, was cascading down the house’s central staircase, “soaking the marble staircase and adding to the hazardous conditions presented by the excessive occupancy,” police reported.
“Students should be advised that my officers are out there checking and making sure they do the right thing and the safe thing,” said Boston police Commissioner William Evans. A MA criminal defense lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with a criminal offense.
Police evacuated the house following the inspection, issuing a violation to the MIT chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Listed in the violation were multiple offenses, including underage drinking, overcrowding, hazardous conditions, and having an unlicensed DJ without prior approval.
“Our goal is not to put a damper on students’ fun, but when we see conditions that put these students’ safety at risk — underage drinking, waterfalls down marble staircases, fire hazards and overcrowding — we are obligated to step in and shut it down,” said Evans.
Frat Houses Under Scrutiny
Law enforcement has been cracking down on fraternity houses in the wake of multiple deadly hazing incidents. The most recent death occurred earlier this year at Penn State University, when 19-year-old Tim Piazza died after falling down the stairs while intoxicated. Eighteen members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity were charged in Piazza’s death. A Boston criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you’ve been charged with a crime.
Whether or not criminal charges will arise from the Phi Delta Theta party is as yet unknown. Furnishing alcohol to minors is a crime in MA, however, so charges are likely. Even if the underage guests brought their own alcohol, the party hosts can still be on the hook. Furnishing alcohol to a minor includes allowing minors to consume alcohol on private property. The penalties for this offense include a fine of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail.
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