22 members of Pi Kappa Alpha (PKA) at Northern Illinois University (NIU) are facing criminal charges for hazing—five of the 22 face felony charges. All charges stem from the death of a PKA pledge, who died following excessive drinking at a party last month.
Freshman David Bogenberger went from room to room in the fraternity house, questioned by brothers, and given vodka and other liquor according to his response. Bogenberger, a 19-year-old finance major from Palatine, IL, had recently pledged the house.
The “parents’ night party” proved fatal, and Bogenberger was found unresponsive in bed the next morning. Authorities say his blood alcohol level was nearly five times the legal limit.
The fraternity chapter has been closed since shortly after the Nov. 2, 2012 incident.
Prosecutors in DeKalb County have charged five fraternity leaders with felony hazing, while 17 others face misdemeanor charges. Those who are charged with felony hazing are the fraternity's president, vice president, pledge advisor, secretary, and event planner.
In Illinois, a felony hazing charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to three years, and a misdemeanor hazing charge carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail, with probation as an option.
NIU has also charged 31 fraternity members with violations of the student code of conduct regarding hazing and alcohol consumption. Penalties may include expulsion from school.
In 2012, more than 45 college students across the country were charged with hazing.