Naperville, Western Springs men among 22 charged in NIU student’s death
Twenty-two members of the fraternity where a 19-year-old freshman died last month were charged this week with hazing, including Western Springs and Naperville residents.
Michael Phillip Jr., 21, of Western Springs, faces a misdemeanor hazing charge in the death, along with 17 others. Fraternity President Alexander M. Jandick, 21, of Naperville, and event planner Steven Libert, 20, of Naperville, are two of five charged with felony hazing in connection with the incident.
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 level 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.
Bogenberger’s family called on university and fraternity leaders to stop alcohol-based hazing and initiation rituals.
“No other family should have to endure what we are going through,” the family said in a prepared statement. “Yet, we are losing these talented, beautiful and hopeful young people because of illegal drinking unrestrained by maturity and exacerbated by social pressure.”
On Nov. 1, Bogenberger and the other pledges drank vodka and other liquor from plastic cups for about two hours while playing a game in which they were asked a series of questions after being assigned “moms” and “dads,” according to a joint news release from DeKalb police and the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The moms were fraternity members’ girlfriends or members of various sororities, while the dads were upperclassmen in the fraternity.
Bogenberger, a 2012 Palatine High School graduate, was found dead at the fraternity house the next morning. Several other pledges told authorities that they got sick or passed out because of heavy drinking, police said.
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.”
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