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22 NIU students charged in hazing death

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 2:42 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 3:21 p.m. CST

DEKALB – Twenty-two members of the fraternity where a 19-year-old freshman died last month were charged Monday with hazing.

David Bogenberger was found dead at the fraternity house Nov. 2. Authorities said Monday that a toxicology report showed Bogenberger had a blood-alcohol content of 0.351 percent when he died.

The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, 1020 W. Hillcrest Drive, along with 31 student members, also are facing academic charges that could affect the fraternity’s permanent status as a registered student organization, Northern Illinois University officials said Monday in a news release. The students face academic sanctions, with penalties possibly rising to expulsion from the university.

Five of the fraternity members face felony hazing charges, which carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison. The other 17 members face misdemeanor charges. The criminal and academic charges stem from an unsanctioned “parents night” party that the fraternity, known as the Pikes, allegedly hosted Nov. 1 for freshman Bogenberger and 18 other fraternity pledges. The event was not registered with the national fraternity organization or with NIU officials.

DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller ruled Bogenberger’s death accidental. Miller said the cause was “cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication as a significant condition contributing to death.”

The hazing charges indicate the fraternity members allegedly provided underage pledges with alcohol and created a situation in which they “felt compelled to consume alcohol as part of membership initiation and the Greek parenting process,” officials said in a press release.

The university also can charge students with academic sanctions separate of criminal ones. NIU spokesman Paul Palian said if the students are found guilty via the university’s judicial process, they could face sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion.

Among the 17 students facing misdemeanor charges is David Sailer, 20, formerly of Princeton.

The Class 4 felonies typically are punishable by probation or up to three years in prison, while the misdemeanors are punishable with probation or less than a year in jail.

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