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Update on accused trio

The three University of Miami students accused of felony battery and burglary charges were expelled from their fraternity two days after the incident reportedly occurred, the organization’s president said late Thursday.

Craig Goldslager, president of Zeta Beta Tau, told The Miami Hurricane in an e-mail that the fraternity learned of the case last Friday, and decided to expel the three on Sunday.

“In doing so, we did not make any determination as to their guilt or innocence,” Goldslager said in the e-mail. “At the same time, we recognize that these allegations are in direct contravention of the ideals by which the Brothers of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity conduct themselves.”

The full text of his letter may be found at the bottom of the page.

Cash Bernard, a junior and business major from Roslyn, N.Y.; Michael Duchon, a junior and entrepreneurship major from Warren, N.J.; and Arya Karamooz, a sophomore from Los Angeles, surrendered themselves to police. Karamooz’s major was not available on UM’s online student directory.

Police said all three surrendered themselves to detectives at the station. Karamooz turned himself in Monday. Bernard and Duchon turned themselves in Tuesday.

The three are accused of beating up another UM student in his condominium after they demanded drugs, police said. Authorities do not know whether or not the three were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

Bernard and Duchon, both 20, were released and ordered under house arrest with tracking monitors, according the Miami-Dade Corrections Web site. Karamooz, 19, posted $5,000 bail Wednesday and was released, according to the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Web site.

The site had no bond information for the other two.

Karamooz’s arraignment is set for Nov. 19 and the arraignments for the other two are set for Nov. 20. Each has hired a private attorney.

According to police, Bernard, Duchon and Karamooz went to a condo owned by UM student Michael Rappaport at about 1:45 a.m. on Oct. 26. The report said the three “entered the victim’s condo without permission through the closed front door.”

The condo is located in the University Inn complex at 1280 S. Alhambra Cir.

Police said Karamooz demanded drugs.

“When [Rappaport] told them he did not know what they were talking about, the subjects assaulted him,” The Miami Herald reported, citing a news release. More specifically, the arrest reports distinguish that Karamooz beat Rappaport and that Bernard and Duchon “participated” in the beating.

Karamooz continually asked, “Where is the sh**, give it to me, where is it?” after forcing Rappaport to the floor and striking him repeatedly in the face, the report said. Rappaport suffered “numerous blows to the head, which caused injury and permanent disfigurement.”

Rappaport managed to escape and notify a condo complex security guard, with the three students fleeing the scene. He was later taken to Doctors Hospital for treatment.

He later identified the trio from a photo lineup. He also told police he recognized Karamooz as someone he had met before.

Goldslager, the ZBT president, said Rappaport has no affiliation with the fraternity whatsoever.

The Miami Herald spoke with Karamooz’s attorney, Scott Saul, a UM graduate and member of ZBT.

“There is a lot more to this story,” Saul said. “The kid who is a so-called victim is not such a victim. He is a drug dealer.”

Police said no drugs were found in Rappaport’s condo.

“At this point, the university is not investigating this as an organization matter,” said Dean of Students Ricardo Hall. “Unless I receive information to the contrary, it’s not being looked into as a chapter-related violation.”

The university’s process for investigating the accused individuals will follow the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, Hall said. The handbook classifies battery as a major offense that may result in suspension or expulsion.

Brandon Gross, who is the Interfraternity Council secretary and a member of Sigma Chi, said Thursday the focus in this case should be the students involved, not the Greek system.

“As of now, it has nothing to do with the fraternity, ZBT, or IFC or AGLO,” said Gross, referring lastly to the Association of Greek Letter Organizations. “These three people happen to be members of this organization [ZBT] and the fraternity that they are members of is not what this is about.”

Greg Linch may be contacted at gregl@miami.edu.

Below is the full text version of the letter that ZBT President Craig Goldslager sent to The Miami Hurricane:

Dear Mr. Linch:

As the President of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity I want to respond to the article published in the November 1 edition of The Miami Hurricane.

The fraternity learned of the alleged incident on October 26, 2007. On October 28, 2007, the members of the fraternity expelled Messrs. Bernard, Duchon and Karamooz. In doing so, we did not make any determination as to their guilt or innocence and, like you, await the outcome of the judicial proceedings. At the same time, we recognize that these allegations are in direct contravention of the ideals by which the Brothers of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity conduct themselves.

Your article seems to suggest that the alleged event was the responsibility of the fraternity or that the fraternity was involved in their defense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Further, while Scott Saul was a brother of ZBT in the 1980’s, we did not retain him to defend anyone.

Lastly, I would like to respond to your statement that you phoned and text messaged me but received no response by press time. Your text message was delivered at 11:30 p.m.; approximately 90 minutes before your story appeared on-line. While your statement was technically correct, it does not fairly describe your attempt at contacting me.

Thank you for your time,

Craig Goldslager

November 5, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.