The five University of Pennsylvania students charged in last month’s assault of Princeton University student John Brantl — who was doused in motor oil and then hit with a lit cigarette — have been linked to Penn’s Owl Society, an underground organization similar to Yale’s secret societies.
A preliminary criminal hearing was held Wednesday for University of Pennsylvania freshman David Hochfelder, 19; freshman Philip Balderston, 19; sophomore Thomas Bispham, 20; sophomore Tavraj Banga, 19; and senior Steven Stolk, 20.
The students were charged with felonies including aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment of another person’s life, terroristic threats, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of an instrument of crime.
On Saturday, Nov. 16 around 4:15 a.m., the five University of Pennsylvania students allegedly entered a lounge in a college dormitory refered to on campus as “the Quadrangle,” where Brantl and several other Princeton students were sleeping. The Princeton students were there for a debate sponsored by the Penn Parliamentary Debate Team.
The five students then allegedly began harrassing Brantl, and one student reportedly poured motor oil over him. One of the students then allegedly threatened to light him on fire, and another student reportedly flicked a lit cigarette at Brantl.
None of the five Penn students was associated with the debate team.
The two sophomores and the senior are members of the Owl Society, while the two freshmen were seeking membership in the Owl Society, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported Wednesday.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Student Conduct is investigating the incident to determine whether the school will take disciplinary action against the five students who allegedly were involved.
Last week, the five students were arraigned and released on $10,000 bail, police reported to the Daily Pennsylvanian.
–Marlon S. Castillo