Proposal to make hazing a felony introduced in Georgia state Senate

ATLANTA — After a hazing incident left their son dead, a metro Atlanta family is now pushing to make hazing a felony in Georgia.

That proposal has just been introduced in the Georgia state Senate.

“I feel like it’s going to pass,” said Stephen Gruver, the father of hazing victim Max Gruver.

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It’s been almost five years since hazing took his son’s life, but now Gruver believes he’s closer than ever to turning his family’s tragedy into a triumph by making hazing a felony in Georgia.

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“I don’t think anything would ease our pain from losing our son, but it definitely makes things better and definitely makes us feel better in our hearts that we’re saving lives in making this change,” said Gruver.

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The Roswell family already succeeded in making hazing a felony in Louisiana, where their son died after being subjected to a night of heavy drinking at a frat house at LSU.

Now just in the past week the family, with the support of more than twelve Georgia senators, has introduced the same proposal in the Georgia legislature.

“We really need to strengthen this law to create a felony,” said Gruver. “It’s there to deter hazing.”

Channel 2 Action News Anchor Justin Wilfon recently talked with the bill’s main sponsor, state Senator John Albers.

Albers said he believes it will pass with strong bipartisan support.

“We are going to increase those penalties to make sure people know that if they in any way commit these heinous acts, that they’re going to be accountable to the full extent of the law,” said Albers, a Republican from Roswell.

In Louisiana, one man was convicted of negligent homicide in Max Gruver’s death.

The Gruver family says they will also pursue making hazing a felony in other states, including Alabama and North Carolina.