DA’s office: Drexel never provided paperwork on possible assault

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office was never given any paperwork or consulted in a formal way on whether to file charges in a fight that resulted in serious brain injury to a Drexel University student, the spokesman for the district attorney’s office said Friday.

“We never received anything from Drexel,” said spokesman Cameron L. Kline.

Camera icon Margo Reed

Ian McGibbon in a hospital bed after the injury. (MARGO REED / Staff Photographer )

The university, Kline said, may have made an informal phone call about the case – in which lawyers say Ian McGibbon, then a junior business major, was punched during an altercation, hit his head, was knocked unconscious and suffered serious brain injury.

But that wouldn’t have been the appropriate route to follow for a possible assault case, he said.

“That’s not how it works,” he said.

Drexel University spokeswoman Niki Gianakaris said the university would have no further comment.

On Thursday, she said in a statement: “The Drexel Police conducted an investigation, notified the office of the district attorney, and it was determined that no charges would be filed.”

Her statement came in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday by McGibbon’s parents, Roderick J. and Elizabeth McGibbon of Narberth. They are suing the student who the suit alleges punched their son; several fraternity members who did not call 911 after McGibbon was knocked unconscious; two fraternities; and the bar that served alcohol to some of them that night. The university is not a defendant in the suit.

The McGibbons said their son, now 23, has had four head surgeries. He cannot remember things, does not have use of his left arm, walks with a brace, and tires easily, they said. His parents obtained a court order declaring him incapacitated and appointing Roderick McGibbon as his guardian.

The incident occurred early on Sept. 12, 2015, between 32nd and 33rd Streets on Powelton Avenue when McGibbon and two fellow members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity were on their way home from a bar. Fraternity members helped him back to the house after the altercation – lawyers showed video of McGibbon being held up by two men as he walked down the street. He was placed on a couch, the family’s lawyer, Robert J. Mongeluzzi, said. The fraternity’s “risk manager” monitored him for several hours until 6 a.m., then went to sleep, the attorney said. McGibbon, he said, had a bright red bruise on his head and was not making sense when he talked.

But it wasn’t until noon the next day that McGibbon’s parents, who were concerned that they hadn’t heard from their son, went to the fraternity house, found him “unconscious, nonresponsive, and covered in blood and vomit,” and called for emergency help, Mongeluzzi said. McGibbon, who lives with his parents, suffered “catastrophic and permanently disabling injuries,” the suit alleges, including “spasticity” of his left arm, “seizure disorder, persistent disabling headaches, severe concentration difficulties, anxiety, depression, and other psychological and emotional injures.”

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