ST. LOUIS — A Missouri university, a fraternity, and a former student are being sued in connection with a series of suicides on campus. The deaths occurred at Truman State University.
“He participated, aided, and abetted these people in committing suicide,” said Nicole Gorovsky, the attorney representing some of the parents of the deceased students.
Gorovsky was commenting on Brandon Grossheim and five suicides that occurred at Truman State University between 2016 and 2017. Three of the deaths happened at the Alpha Kappa Lambada fraternity house. Brandon Grossheim was a fraternity member at the time.
Gorovsky argues that what he allegedly did was manslaughter, and has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the parents of Alexander Mullins and Joshua Thomas, two young men who took their own lives. The lawsuit claims Grossheim was "fascinated" with death. Grossheim told police he counseled the students, giving step-by-step directions on how to deal with depression, including advice on how to commit suicide, the lawsuit says.
“Which, of course, has very strong implications that he was counseling them on how to commit suicide,” said Gorovsky.
Alex’s mother, Melissa Bottorff-Arey said, “I would want him (Brandon Grossheim) to face his day in court and be held accountable for the death.”
The attorney said the university and fraternity knew about Grossheim’s close relationships to the students and did nothing to stop him.
“There was clear foresee-ability to the university that there was somebody dangerous on this campus, and they didn't do anything about it," Gorovsky added,
“He (Grossheim) was involved and kind of bending their ear, if you will. Just kind of planting thoughts in their head,” said Melissa Bottorff-Arey.
The two other people who took their lives were apparently friends of Grossheim. The lawsuit says Grossheim was one of the last people to see each victim before their deaths and was reportedly seen wearing one of the victim's clothing. All the suicides were in the same manner.
“He needs to pay for what he’s done,” said Melissa Bottorff-Arey.
The university released a statement that says: “We strongly disagree with the allegations and will defend the suit vigorously.”
School leaders added that it will become clear the university is not responsible for the deaths of these students. A spokesman for the fraternity says they've yet to receive the lawsuit and had no comment.