'Pledge Dad' Who Made Frat Member Drink Until He Suffered Brain Damage Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail

Ryan Delanty, a former member of a University of Missouri fraternity, had previously pleaded guilty in a 2021 hazing incident that injured a fraternity pledge

<p>alamy</p> University of Missouri


University of Missouri

A former member of a University of Missouri fraternity referred to in court documents as a “pledge dad” was sentenced to six months in prison over a 2021 hazing incident that left another student with brain damage.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that Ryan Delanty was handcuffed at the Boone County Courthouse on Friday, May 24, and taken away to jail following his sentencing.

Delanty had previously pleaded guilty on May 10 to one count of misdemeanor hazing and one count of serving alcohol to a minor, per ABC affiliate KMIZ, in the case surrounding Phi Gamma Delta fraternity pledge Danny Santulli.

Related: UVA Fraternities Suspend Recruitment Activities After Alleged Hazing Leaves Student Injured

On Oct. 20, 2021, Santulli, then 19, was hospitalized after being hazed at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity’s "pledge father reveal,” NBC affiliate KOMU reported. Santulli’s blood alcohol at the time reached 0.486, over six times the legal limit to operate a vehicle.

The incident left Santulli blind and also brain-damaged, without the ability for him to speak, walk or respond.

In June 2022, Delanty and Thomas Andrew Shultz, both former Phi Gamma Delta members, were indicted by a Missouri grand jury on felony hazing charges for their involvement in the incident. They also faced misdemeanor counts of supplying liquor to a minor or intoxicated person.

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According to police at the time, Delanty and Shultz were seen in security camera footage allegedly forcing Santulli to consume alcohol.

Shultz pleaded guilty in April 2023 to one misdemeanor count of supplying liquor to a minor or Intoxicated person, per CBS affiliate KRCG. He was given a suspended sentence of one year in jail.

Related: UConn Frat President Charged After Police Say He Strangled Pledge During Initiation

Following the hazing incident, the University of Missouri in May 2022 said it was shutting down the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and 13 students were disciplined. The Associated Press reported that Santulli’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the fraternity and 23 members, which was settled in 2022.

Stephanie Fortus, Delanty's attorney, said of his client’s May 10 plea deal, per the AP: “Ryan understands the gravity of the situation, and he's pleased to reach a resolution that avoided a trial.”

Related: Parents Call for Justice After 20-Year-Old Son Dies in Alleged Fraternity Hazing Incident

Santulli’s family members were present at Delanty’s sentencing hearing on May 24, with Santulli’s father, Tom, saying, as reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune: "In the end, nobody had each other's back and that is what a fraternity is supposed to do.”

Santulli’s mother, Mary, also said at the hearing that while her job as her son’s full-time caregiver has been rewarding, “it's not one I imagined myself ever having."

PEOPLE contacted Delanty’s attorney Fortus and the Boone County prosecuting attorney’s office for comment. 

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