Family of David Bogenberger Sues Fraternity After Death by Alcohol Poisoning

A family is suing the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house after their son died of alcohol poisoning at an event at Northern Illinois University.

David Bogenberger was 19, and found dead in his bunk bed at the fraternity house on November 2, 2012.

His father, Gary, filed a lawsuit against the fraternity’s national organization.

He is claiming that the leaders of the fraternity pressured Bogenberger, and others, into drinking excessive amounts of alcohol during an initiation event.

The suit said the fraternity did not make apparent the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and did not ensure its members were following hazing policies.

“The national organization has a responsibility to provide meaningful training, supervision and oversight to its local chapters, so that fraternity members understand that alcohol-related hazing is...potentially deadly,” Bogenberger family lawyer Peter Coladarci said.

Five of the leaders are being charged with felony hazing and 17 other members are facing misdemeanor charges. The fraternity has since stopped operating.

The death occurred after an annual ritual called “parents night” where new recruits are assigned to senior members and told to drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

David had originally joined the fraternity so he could make friends.

“He wanted to be accepted. It’s a classic case of a kid who just wants to fit in with the group,” Coladarci said.

If the five charged with felony hazing are convicted, they face up to three years in jail or probation.

In a statement, the family said they are filing the suit so “significant change” can be implemented.

“We have no desire for revenge. We must realize that young people can and do die in hazing rituals. Alcohol-involved hazing and initiation must end,” the statement read.

Coladarci said the family is looking to raise awareness of hazing incidents, warning that such events are a “national health epidemic.”

The fraternity did not register their event because of the amount of alcohol they planned to consume, according to Lieutenant Jason Leverton.

The school has also announced it plans to discipline 31 members as they broke the student code of conduct.

(Chicago Tribune)


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