(CBS News) - Thirteen students at Florida A&M University will be charged in connection with the hazing death of marching band member Robert Champion, Jr. CBS News has learned.
The students face misdemeanor and felony hazing charges, but have not been charged with murder or manslaughter. Prosecutors made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.
Twenty-six-year old Robert Champion, Jr. died last November after a severe beating. The cause of death was trauma, caused by excessive bleeding after a hazing ritual aboard a band charter bus involving more than two dozen students.
The parents of the dead student, Pam and Robert Champion Sr., say any arrests will be five months overdue.
“When someone loses their life because of a crime, they should be punished,” Champion Sr. told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.
“The most important thing is that the example needs to be set,” his mother said. “It needs to be an example that sets the stage of what will not be tolerated.”
In the hazing ritual, Champion was allegedly kicked, punched and stomped as he ran from the front of the bus to the back. He collapsed and died on his way to the hospital.
After his death, the school’s band director admitted its hazing history stretched back four decades. Just this week, two music professors were fired for participating in band hazing.
Champion’s parents have sued the bus company, Fabulous Coach Lines, and plan to sue the school.
“They’re going to have to clean the house,” Champion’s mother said. “They’re going to have to step up and do what they know is the right thing to do ... Get rid of the filth that’s there. Everything is out in the open, so you can’t continue business as usual.”
The university has appointed a task force to investigate its hazing culture and suspended all band activities.
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