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Santulli Family Speaks as Ryan Delanty Receives Sentence

Ryan Delanty in handcuffs

Today, Ryan Delanty—Danny Santulli’s fraternity ‘big brother’ and chief perpetrator of Danny’s brutal hazing in October 2021—finally faced sentencing for his actions. Danny and his family appeared remotely for the sentencing hearing, with the Santulli family providing victim impact statements.

Delanty pleaded guilty to supplying liquor to a minor and a misdemeanor hazing charge in Boone County, and prosecutors recommended a six-month jail sentence. But is that enough? To answer that question, the St. Louis Dispatch interviewed members of Danny’s family and David Bianchi, who represented the Santullis in their civil case against Phi Gamma Delta (aka Fiji) and its members for fraternity hazing.

Chrissy Prioleau, Danny’s aunt, thinks the prosecutor’s recommendation doesn’t nearly match the scale of what happened to Danny or what happens to other hazing victims nationwide.

“People have died, and it's like giving a traffic ticket,” she said to the St. Louis Dispatch. “It's been 31 months that we've been waiting for justice for Danny.”

David Bianchi agrees, stating that a six-month sentence for the worst hazing injuries in history is a slap on the wrist. What really needs to happen, he’s argued, is universities expelling all students involved with hazing immediately after an incident.

“They almost never do that,” he told reporters, because of pressure from Greek organizations and their donors.

Long-Term Culture of Abuse & Hazing at Mizzou

In a rare public statement, Tom Santulli discussed what it was like to discover how his son was being treated by Fiji members—the degrading treatment, the humiliating and demeaning tasks. Tom urges students and their families to conduct research on all organizations before pledging.

If information on organizations like Fiji were made public, Tom might’ve been able to learn that hazing on the Mizzou campus has been a problem for 16 years. The Columbia Missourian published a timeline of these events; the Columbia Daily Tribune published a list of 15 incidents of hazing and alcohol abuse at Mizzou just between 2018 and 2021. In fact, Fiji had been cited by the school in fall 2020 and spring 2021—just a few months before Danny moved to campus.

University sanctions and citations against fraternities aren’t enough. For the senseless violence and abuse to end, university administrations need to make it clear that hazing perpetrators risk their own future when they commit acts of alcohol abuse, psychological manipulation, and physical violence to assert authority over pledges.

“I’m still devastated,” Tom said. “His life was taken away.”

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Photo credit: Columbia Missourian