The parents of a student at Northern Illinois University (NIU) who died during a fraternity initiation party have filed a wrongful death lawsuit blaming the fraternity and its members for his death. The lawsuit alleges that fraternity members made the new pledge drink dangerous amounts of alcohol and then took no action when he lost consciousness.
The morning after a November 1, 2012 initiation party, David Bogenberger’s body was found in the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house. Bogenberger, a 19-year-old graduate of Palatine High School near Chicago, had a blood alcohol level nearly five times the legal limit.
The lawsuit also names 22 fraternity members as defendants, all of whom also face criminal charges. Five fraternity leaders have been charged with felony hazing.
Gary Bogenberger, David’s father, filed the lawsuit, alleging that leaders of the fraternity’s local chapter required new pledges to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol as a condition of membership.
The lawsuit claims that the Pi Kappa Alpha national organization failed to ensure that its chapters were properly warned about the dangers of excessive drinking and failed to make sure that the Eta Nu chapter was adhering to the fraternity’s policies on hazing.
The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court and requests unspecified damages.
According to experts, there have been over 100 total recorded deaths due to hazing, and 82 percent of hazing deaths involve alcohol.