Northern Illinois University Fraternity Death: 22 fraternity members charged in student's hazing death, police say

Northern Illinois University campus via CBS Chicago
Northern Illinois University campus via CBS Chicago

(CBS/AP) DEKALB, Ill. - Nearly two dozen fraternity members at Northern Illinois University were charged with hazing-related counts after a freshman was found dead last month at the fraternity house after a night of heavy drinking.

David Bogenberger, 19, was found unresponsive at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house in Dekalb on Nov. 2. Toxicology results found his blood alcohol content was about five times the legal limit for driving, the DeKalb County Coroner's Office said.

The coroner ruled Bogenberger's cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication as a contributing cause.

DeKalb police and prosecutors issued arrest warrants Monday for 22 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Five members are charged with felony hazing, while the other 17 members are facing misdemeanor hazing charges.

The DeKalb Police Department said its investigation found the fraternity hosted an unsanctioned event on Nov. 1 that wasn't registered with the university or the fraternity's national chapter.

"The event that night involved the pledges rotating between several rooms in the fraternity house, being asked a series of questions, and then being provided cups of vodka and other liquor to drink," police said in a statement. "This resulted in the pledges drinking a large quantity of alcohol in about a two-hour time period."

Police said several other pledges reported getting sick and passing out due to excessive alcohol consumption.

NIU said 31 students are also accused of violating the school's code of conduct. Those students could face penalties ranging from reprimand to expulsion.

Bogenberger's family said in a statement that they appreciate law enforcement professionals who investigated his death and "seek accountability for a horrible event."

"We have no desire for revenge," the family said. "Rather, we hope that some significant change will come from David's death. Alcohol poisoning claims far too many young, healthy lives.

"We must realize that young people can and do die in hazing rituals. Alcohol-involved hazing and initiation must end."