A felony criminal complaint accuses a Binghamton University student of damaging more than $1,300 in property in a violent rampage at a rival’s fraternity house early Saturday morning.
According to court papers filed Dec. 3, Daniel J. Venditti ’07, a member of Alpha Phi Delta fraternity, was among a group that kicked in the doorway of 76 Conklin Ave. on the South Side of Binghamton. A police report states that Venditti brandished a wooden table leg and swung it at a frat brother; he missed. Later, police say, Venditti damaged $1,300 in stereo/DJ equipment by smashing the items to the ground.
The Binghamton police arrested Venditti, 21, and charged him with criminal mischief in the third degree; attempted assault in the second degree; and burglary in the first degree — all felonies. He was released from the Broome County Jail on Dec. 7 after four days in custody.
The address 76 Conklin belongs to APE, formerly Alpha Epsilon Pi, a fraternity the University stopped recognizing after it lost its charter in spring 2005. But Alpha Phi Delta is recognized, said Jack Causseaux, BU’s fraternity and sorority adviser, and according to an online Facebook profile, Venditti is an APD brother. APD has been chartered since 1992, according to BU’s greek life Web site.
Causseaux declined to comment but he said his office is aware of the police allegations and he hasn’t taken action yet against APD. He also wouldn’t say whether APD was the fraternity involved.
One of the complainants is Adam E. Zafran, who lives at 76 Conklin. According to the Dec. 3 police report, a man wearing glasses and a red sweatshirt — later identified by police as Venditti — banged on Zafran’s door with the 3-foot-long wooden stick before trying to attack him. The police also allege that Venditti broke down another nearby door with the stick.
Several of the 76 Conklin residents tried to repel Venditti and the other invaders by pushing them out of the house. Someone called the police, who briefly investigated and arrested Venditti on felony charges.
The Binghamton city police faxed the report to their University counterparts early Monday morning, said Investigator Matthew C. Rossie, a spokesman for Binghamton’s New York State University Police.
Lloyd M. Howe, who in his capacity as BU’s dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs acts as the University’s chief disciplinarian for the most serious cases, said he will decide by next week, using the faxed report, whether to summarily suspend Venditti from school and initiate formal campus misconduct charges against him.
“It’s a case that’s up for consideration at this time,” Dean Howe said.
The city’s felony allegations against Venditti are among just a handful that make their way to campus in accordance with a 2002 amendment to the student conduct rules extending University jurisdiction off campus.
“Gosh, it’s not that often,” Howe said, referring to how often off-campus agencies tell BU about crimes involving students. “Each year, a few from the city and perhaps one or two from Vestal.”
Last month, Dean Howe suspended a BU varsity wrestler from the University after the city police accused the athlete of punching a woman at a downtown bar, resisting arrest and damaging a holding cell.
While rare, those types of cases brought into the campus system typically involve sex assault, major injury or property damage, or underage alcohol serving, Howe said.
“In most cases, a felony level is certainly a trigger,” Howe said.
Venditti was charged with three felonies.