Frat denies hazing claims in lawsuit over Ohio student’s death

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ATHENS, Ohio — A fraternity being sued over the alleged hazing of an Ohio college student says he wasn’t a pledge when he died, and it denies the family’s allegations.

Eighteen-year-old Ohio University freshman Collin Wiant, of Dublin, died in November. His family’s lawsuit in Athens County court says he died of asphyxiation after ingesting nitrous oxide provided to and forced on him by fraternity members.

It accuses the Sigma Pi fraternity of extensive physical and mental hazing.

In response, the fraternity says it removed Wiant from the pledging process weeks before his death because of a sexual-assault allegation against him. He wasn’t charged, and that case was closed after he died.

The family’s attorney, Rex Elliott, tells The Columbus Dispatch the assault allegation was unproven and there’s evidence Wiant remained a pledge.

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