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A preliminary hearing was delayed for College and Wharton sophomore Lorenzo Bonfiglio, charged with 24 criminal counts including arson. | DP File Photo

Credit: Luke Chen

College and Wharton sophomore Lorenzo Bonfiglio, the student arrested last week for allegedly committing arson at the Psi Upsilon fraternity house, also known as Castle, is being charged with 24 criminal counts by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Nineteen of the counts are for recklessly endangering another person, and the remainder are for simple assault, possible instrument of crime with intent, criminal mischief, causing catastrophe and arson — danger of death or bodily injury, according to court documents.

According to United States common law codes, arson is generally defined as “the malicious burning or exploding of the dwelling house of another, or the burning of a building within the curtilage, the immediate surrounding space, of the dwelling of another.”

Bonfiglio was arrested on Oct. 29 by Penn Police, according to the Division of Public Safety. He was arraigned the same day and bail was set at $100,000. Bonfiglio posted 10 percent of the bail that same day and was then released, according to the court docket.

Bonfiglio has been placed on a leave of absence by the Office of the Provost, during which time he is barred from entering Penn’s campus, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. This is an administrative measure that does not involve DPS. The Office of Student Conduct will be performing its own follow-up investigation into the incident.

The fire took place in the early hours of Oct. 23 at the Castle house at 250 S. 36th Street. It was initially reported to DPS and the Philadelphia Fire Department via the house’s built-in alarm system. The built-in sprinkler system went off and the fire was contained before officials arrived, DPS Chief of Fire and Emergency Services Eugene Janda said. After authorities ensured the safety of all occupants, the investigation into a possible arson began. Penn Police worked with the Philadelphia Fire Marshal in order to determine the cause of the fire, as well as possible suspects in case of an arson attempt, Rush said.

After gathering evidence over a period of several days, University Police submitted what it had gathered with the Fire Marshal to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, which then defined the charges against Bonfiglio, Rush said. The charges were then submitted to a judge by Penn Police detectives. The judge then swore out a warrant for arrest and Penn Police carried it out, Rush said.

A preliminary hearing is set to occur on Nov. 13 at 8 a.m. in Room 703 of the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert St.

Bonfiglio’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment by press time. Castle president and Wharton senior Michael Pozzuoli declined to comment.

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