22 NIU fraternity members charged after pledge dies
Felony hazing charges are filed against five fraternity leaders at Northern Illinois University in connection with the November death of 19-year-old David Bogenberger.
Misdemeanor charges were filed against 17 members. Three of them turned themselves in to the Dekalb police.
They are now free on bond, and they’re due back in court on January 8.
Bogenberger, a freshman from Palatine, was pledging Pi Kappa Alpha. He attended an unsanctioned event at the fraternity’s house at 1020 W. Hillcrest, near campus.Police say the event was called, “parents night.” Pledges were assigned Greek “dads,” who were upperclassmen in the fraternity, and Greek “moms” from related sororities.
In a two hour period, 19 pledges rotated between several rooms in the frat house, where they were asked questions and given cups of alcohol to drink. When it was over, several pledges ended up passing out. Bogenberger later died.The Dekalb County coroner’s office says his blood alcohol level was about five times the legal limit. The cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication as a significant contributing factor.Bogenberger’s family released a statement saying, in part:“We have no desire for revenge. 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.
Felony arrest warrants were issued for: Alexander M. Jandik, 21, of Naperville, fraternity president, James P. Harvey, 21, of Dekalb, fraternity vice president, Omar Salameh, 21, of Dekalb, fraternity pledge advisor, Patrick W. Merrill, 19, of Dekalb, fraternity secretary, and Steven A. Libert, 20, of Naperville, event planner.
The school is currently on winter break.
Police say they will make arrangements for the men to turn themselves in.In addition to the criminal charges, NIU announced disciplinary charges were filed against 31 fraternity members and the fraternity for violating the school’s code of conduct. They could face expulsion from school.