- AKA Sued
- Death Leads to Charges and Civil Suit
- Berkeley Nuisance Case Affirmed and Reversed in Part
- IRS 2012 Annual Report & 2013 Workplan
- Death and NIU Leads to Criminal Hazing Charges
- Paddletramps Decision Modified
- Court Dismisses Phi Kappa Tau's Suit Against Miami University
- UCF Suspends Greek Life Activities
Newsletter > March 2013 > "Death and NIU Leads to Criminal Hazing Charges"
Death and NIU Leads to Criminal Hazing Charges
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
“These kind of hazing incidents are commonplace on college campuses. . .These kids don’t understand that you can die from it. . .This is a national health epidemic, which must be addressed.”1
On November 2, 2012, David Bogenberger, 19, was found dead after what articles variously described as an “initiation party” or “parents night” party where pledges were introduced to their bigs hosted by the Pi Kappa Alpha Chapter at Northern Illinois University. A toxicology study found his blood alcohol content to be between four and five times higher than the legal limit of0.08 to drive in the State of Illinois.
Four members of the Chapter, including the President, Vice President, Pledge Advisor, Secretary and Event Planner, have been charged with felony hazing. If convicted, they could each face between one and three years in prison. Seventeen other members of the Chapter have been charged with misdemeanor hazing, which allows for up to a year in jail.
While the pretrial process is only beginning, some of the defense counsel have been quoted in the press as being prepared to challenge the Illinois hazing statute as being unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.
Section 720 of the Illinois Code provides, “Hazing. A person commits hazing who knowingly requires the performance of any act by a student or other person in a school, college, university, or other educational institution of this State, for the purpose of induction or admission into any group, organization, or society associated or connected with that institution if:
a) the act is not sanctioned or authorized by that educational institution; and
b) the act results in bodily harm to any person.
Some may dispute the Bogenberger family attorney’s statement that such incidents are “commonplace.” What cannot be disputed is that any such incident is absolutely unacceptable. The Bogenberger family has shown amazing restraint with their attorney commenting that they were not seeking “an eye for an eye” and did not want to see harm done to those who are charged. Whether the courts will be as forgiving remains to be seen.
In addition to the criminal charges, 31 of the fraternity members are facing University disciplinary actions which could result in expulsion. The Chapter lost its status as a recognized student organization.
The reality is that until such conduct stops once and for all, families like the Bogenbergers will continue to experience the death of a loved one. Those fraternities and sororities which have done everything they can to address and halt hazing, in particular the deadly the mixture of hazing and alcohol, will continue to face harsh public criticism in spite of their efforts. Those individuals responsible for the conduct that leads to a death or serious harm will increasingly face criminal prosecution and jail.
1Peter R. Colabarci, Attorney for the Plaintiff, David Bogenberger, quoted in the Chicago Tribune, December 18, 2012.