I am going to use this post to link as much as possible regarding this story. I have a feeling I will ultimately need to develop a separate section for this case.
Update (3/13) – In February, the family of David Bogenberger filed a civil lawsuit naming the National fraternity of Pi Kappa Alpha, and the 22 students who have been charged criminally. A later article indicated that the attorney was seeking the release of additional names of those involved and/or attending the party to be added to the lawsuit. He states that 45 people attended the event. In an earlier story, the attorney for the chapter president in the criminal case previewed his defense strategy to be a challenge on the state’s hazing law.
Please take a moment to read this editorial from The Chicago Tribune. It makes a connection between changes implemented following the death of Scott Krueger at MIT in 1997 to the charges filed this week.
Wednesday Update – There has been wide spread attention to this story in media across the country. It has gotten people’s attention. The Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald, and USA Today have stories with information on students turning themselves into local police, and posting bond. It appears that students who turn themselves in this week will have their first court appearance in DeKalb on January 8th. I hope that one (or both) of the Chicago newspapers will commit to fully investigating and following this case through to the end.
The International Fraternity of Pi Kappa Alpha issued a press release late Tuesday addressing the case and charges against members. In many ways, it seeks to distance itself from the actions of the local chapter. It foreshadows their approach to any potential civil lawsuit that may arise. Northern Illinois University also issued a press release this week announcing pending campus judicial charges against 31 students. They seem to be emphasizing that this was an unregistered social event. Like Pike, this appears to be an attempt to refocus the issue to minimize exposure in approaching any potential civil lawsuit.
For those of you who are interested, here is the Illinois Hazing Law:
§ 720 ILCS 120/0.01. Short title
Sec. 0.01. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Hazing Act.
§ 720 ILCS 120/5. Hazing
Sec. 5. 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.
§ 720 ILCS 120/10. Sentence
Sec. 10. Sentence. Hazing is a Class A misdemeanor, except hazing that results in death or great bodily harm is a Class 4 felony.
I wonder why only five of the 22 were charged with the felony?
Update – Late this afternoon it was reported that 22 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at NIU have been charged criminally in the death of David Bogenberger. Five officers of the fraternity face felony hazing charges, and 17 others face misdemeanor charges. Most of those charges are 19 to 21 years old. In addition, 31 other NIU students face disciplinary action from the University. Click here for coverage from The Daily Chronicle (local DeKalb paper), The Northern Star (student newspaper), The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Daily Herald, and NBC Chicago. What is still missing are potential criminal and/or University charges against the sorority members involved in the parent’s night activity, and possible sanctions against those sorority chapters. This may be the tip of a very large iceberg.
WREX.com is reporting that the toxicology report following the death of David Bogenberger, a Pi Kappa Alpha pledge at Northern Illinois has been issued. “According to the autopsy, Bogenberger had an enlarged heart and died from Cardiac Arrhythmia. Toxicology results show he had a Blood Alcohol Content of .351, which triggered the Arrhythmia. The death has been ruled accidental.”
You can click here for more information:
- Northern Illinois Death is Hazing Related
- NIU/Pike – Alcohol May Have Played a Role in Student Death
While I am sure there was no malice in the events leading up to his death, several people contributed to Bogenberger’s excessive consumption of alcohol in the process of joining his fraternity. A .351 BAC is not accidental.