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New law makes hazing in Arizona a crime

Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 11, 2022

A new law taking effect September 24 is making hazing a crime in Arizona.

It's named after Jack Culolias, an Arizona State University student who died following a fraternity pledge event in 2012.

"He had a great smile," said Alex Culolias "A ton of friends."

Alex, Jack's twin brother, was just 19-years old when he decided to pledge for a fraternity at ASU.

At the time, his mom said she wasn't concerned.

"I wasn't because his grandfather had pledged," said Grace Culolias.

But in November 2012, Jack disappeared after a fraternity pledge event that involved excessive amounts of alcohol.

Days later, Jack's body was found in Tempe Town Lake.

"I brought Jack to ASU and I took him to his dorm," said Grace. "The hardest thing I had to do was go back to that dorm and take his belongings without him."

ABC15 was told no one was ever criminally held accountable for Jack's death, because it wasn't possible at the time.

Local attorneys, like Pat McGroder and others at the firm Beus Gilbert McGroder, wanted that to change.

"This is a serious matter that is impacting too many kids around this county," said Attorney Patrick J. McGroder IV.

"I was shocked because it was not illegal, and that's outrageous," said State Representative John Kavanagh.

Kavanagh is a sponsor of the new law, and said the goal is to stop extreme hazing.

It's being called "Jack's Law" and violators could now face criminal charges.

"If they conduct illegal hazing and an injury occurs to the student then they could be guilty of assault," said Rep. Kavanagh. "If they conduct hazing and a student dies, they could very easily be convicted of manslaughter."

Even those who help plan hazing can be held accountable.

Grace and Alex returned to Arizona the same week as ASU freshmen move into their dorms, but this time they're leaving with hope.

"Our family has suffered greatly, and I don't want any other parent to have to deal with this," said Grace.