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Student Pays for False Threat

NEW YORK -- A Colgate University student accused of posting a shooting threat on the Internet has paid nearly $5,000 to law enforcement agencies that swarmed the campus in December.

George So, a senior at the college, pleaded guilty earlier this month to disorderly conduct, a violation. He received three years' probation and was required to write letters of apology to law enforcement agencies, the local ambulance corps and hospital.

"To say that I was foolish and naive would be an understatement," So wrote to state police. "I realize that my actions were no small incident and that I cannot be so immature and sophomoric in what I say and write."

So was originally charged with second-degree aggravated harassment for posting a message on a college gossip Web site in March.

The message was titled "I wonder if I could shut down the school," and said in the text: "If someone put the effort into writing a big long serious suicide note informing all readers that he would kill over 100 kids, they could shut down the school."

In the next 24 hours, more than 50 state and local police swarmed the campus and the village of Hamilton until they tracked down So and arrested him.

So's lawyer, Gary Bruno, said So went through the university's judicial process and he was not suspended or expelled. Colgate spokesman Anthony Adornato confirmed that So had completed the judicial process, but could not comment on the outcome.

Village Court Judge Arnold Fisher said So is still a student at Colgate and is studying abroad in Spain this semester.

In his letters, So said he was comforted by the quick action taken by local officials in what they perceived to be a real threat.

"I am glad that the police response was so swift and efficient," So wrote in his letter to state police. "I feel safe knowing that New York's law enforcement agencies are ready to protect in an instant."

So paid a total of $4,952 to state police, the village police and the Southern Madison County Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Fisher said.

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