Illinois News

22 NIU fraternity members charged in hazing death

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Greek letters are gone, the house is closed. But inside: David Bogenberger's picture on several funeral programs remains.

"He wanted to join the fraternity. He wanted to be accepted. He wanted to be liked like anyone else wants to pledge a frat. The price put on it was to go through this ritual," said Peter Coladarci, the attorney for the Bogenberger family.

The "ritual", according to police, was a party in which pledges were ordered to go from room to room looking for their assigned Greek "mom" or "dad." They had to chug alcohol in each room.

The next day, Bogenberger was found dead in one of those rooms. The coroner found alcohol five times the legal limit in his system.

Five fraternity leaders, including the house president, are now charged with felony hazing. 17 others face misdemeanor charges.

In addition: NIU may move to suspend or expel as many as 31 students, all members of Pi Kappa Alpha, for violating the school's code of conduct.

"I guess people don't think about it until it happens."

NIU seniors Alex Ellis and Rachel Wilkins are split over whether their fellow students should face criminal charges in Bogenberger's death.

"Nobody wanted this to happen. It was an accident for all I know," said Ellis.

"Who's in charge of running the fraternity as a whole should get in trouble as well to let them do that. They're not paying attention," said Wilkins.

"The consequences on each of these defendants are very serious, life changing... but a lot of lives changed on November 1st," said Coladarci.

In a statement, the Bogenberger family said: "It is almost impossible for us to accept that David is gone at the age of 19... we have no desire for revenge. Rather, we hope that some significant change will come from David's death."'

ABC7 stopped by the Naperville home of the 21-year-old Pi Kappa Alpha president Monday night, but his father said they would have no comment on the charges.

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