22 Northern Illinois University students are facing charges for the death of freshman David Bogenberger, during a Pi Kappa Alpha party.
The fraternity took part in a hazing ritual, which they dub "parents' night," in which a mentor is assigned to every new pledge.
They hid the event from campus authorities “because of the amount of alcohol that was to be consumed,” according to Lt. Jason Leverton, of the DeKalb Police Department.
“He wanted to be liked. He wanted to be accepted. [...] It's a classic case of a kid who just wants to fit in with the group,” the boy's family attorney describes.
Bogenberger had to go from room to room in the fraternity house, and respond to a series a questions. Seniors would pass him vodka or other liquors that he had to consume. The ritual spread over a period of two hours, Chicago Tribune writes.
The next morning, his fellow fraternity brothers found him dead in his bed, after the binge on the previous night. Tests revealed that his blood alcohol was five times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
The incident on November 2 has led to criminal charges being brought against 22 Pi Kappa Alpha members. DeKalb County police arrested five of them, pointed out as fraternity leaders, on felony charges.
Fraternity president Alexander M. Jandick of Naperville, vice president, 21-year-old James P. Harvey, pledge adviser Omar Salameh of DeKalb, underage secretary Patrick W. Merrill, 19, and event planner Steven A. Libert, 20, will have a criminal record.
The other 17 students were held for misdemeanors. The will most likely be freed on probation; however, charges brought against them can amount to a maximum of 364 days in jail.
For those facing hazing counts, the legal penalty is one to three years in prison; yet, they could be given probation time as well.
“We have no desire for revenge. Rather, we hope that some significant change will come from David's death,” the Bogenberger family notes in a statement.