CHICO, Calif. - The Chico State Fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom Tuesday to cutting down multiple trees at a Tehama County campground in April of 2017.
According to court documents, the fraternity pleaded guilty to cutting, removing, or otherwise damaging any timber, tree, of other forest product. The fraternity was sentenced to three years of probation, restitution fees totaling $4,387.97 to be paid to the Lassen National Forest, court fees totaling $4,000, and they must perform 9,800 hours of community service.
According to the Tehama County Sheriff's Office, on April 28, around 9:15 a.m., deputies were contacted about college-aged adults camping in a remote, unimproved camp site in the State Wildlife Refuge, on the Highway 32 side of Tehama County.
Deputies said the reporting party described the campers as having left large volumes of litter, trespassing into posted closed areas of the Refuge, and cutting down a number of trees in the area.
The US Forest Service law enforcement filed a criminal complaint in May of this year against the fraternity and their president, Evan Jossey. Officials alleged the group cut down about 32 trees and had a gun with them on the Lassen National Forest during initiation of new pledges.
The Chico State Fraternity initially denied the accusations of vandalism on their Facebook page, "The Lambda Psi Chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity denies the accusations of vandalism at a national forest. The Chapter has filed a police report regarding the individual making these claims. Additionally, we are cooperating with authorities in their investigation. We have concerns for the safety of our members after receiving threats against Chapter following this accusation and have notified the local police regarding these threats."