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Maryland Senate Dramatically Increases Penalties For Hazing

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The Maryland Senate has okayed a bill increasing the penalties ten-fold for hazing in the state.

The bill increases the fine for anyone convicted of hazing from up to $500 to up to $5,000. Potential jail time is not affected.

Montgomery County Democrat Jamie Raskin, sponsor of the bill, says he and his colleagues heard many horror stories of hazing incidents on Maryland college campuses, but one stuck out. A Salisbury State University male student pledging a fraternity says he was put into a garbage can full of ice water in the dead of winter and then hosed for several hours, after which he was put in a dark basement and forced to listen to German skinhead heavy metal at blaring levels for nine hours.

"Although this young man was no shrinking violet — he was a 6'3 lacrosse player — he was so shaken by what happened that he went to the authorities and said that this was something that would have happened at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay. And he ended up leaving the school," Raskin says.

The bill now heads to the House, but there is less than two weeks for it to be approved before lawmakers adjourn for the year.

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