Fraternity death at NIU leads to charges against 22
DeKALB – Twenty-two members of the fraternity where a 19-year-old freshman died last month were charged Monday with hazing.
David Bogenberger was found dead at the fraternity house on the morning of Nov. 2. Authorities said Monday that a toxicology report showed Bogenberger had a blood-alcohol content of 0.351 percent when he died.
The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, 1020 W. Hillcrest Drive, along with 31 student members, also are facing academic charges that could affect the fraternity’s permanent status as a registered student organization, Northern Illinois University officials said Monday in a news release. The students face academic sanctions, with penalties ranging to expulsion from the university.
Five of the fraternity members face felony hazing charges, which carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison. The other 17 members face misdemeanor charges.
The criminal and academic charges stem from an unsanctioned “parents night” party that the fraternity, known as the Pikes, allegedly hosted Nov. 1 for freshman Bogenberger and 18 other fraternity pledges. The event was not registered with the national fraternity organization or with NIU officials.
Bogenberger, a 2012 Palatine High School graduate, was found dead at the fraternity house the next morning. Several other pledges told authorities that they got sick or passed out because of heavy drinking, police said.
DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller ruled Bogenberger’s death accidental. Miller said the cause was “cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication as a significant condition contributing to death.”
The hazing charges indicate the fraternity members allegedly provided underage pledges with alcohol and created a situation in which they “felt compelled to consume alcohol as part of membership initiation and the Greek parenting process,” officials said in the release.
Aside from those charged, 20 to 25 other people were at the fraternity that night, DeKalb Det. Lt. Jason Leverton said. Those people were not an active part of providing the alcohol or compelling the drinking, he said.
The university also can charge students with academic sanctions separate of criminal ones. NIU spokesman Paul Palian said if the students are found guilty via the university’s judicial process, they could face sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion.
Palian said the 31 students were notified of the academic charges on Dec. 7. At individual hearings, they will have the opportunity to present their side of the story.
Although academic charges are separate from the criminal charges, they do not operate in a vacuum. Palian said new evidence or developments in the criminal changes could change the academic charges.
“We can amend or change as new evidence comes from those cases,” Palian said.
Before a fraternity or sorority can host an event with alcohol, at least 51 percent of the membership must participate in training on the university’s “social policy, party monitoring tips, how to register a social event, how to manage risk and general alcohol education information,” the news release said.