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Parents sue NIU fraternity in son's death

Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 10:00 a.m. CST

(MCT) — The family of a Northern Illinois University freshman who died during a pledge party has sued the fraternity, alleging that members made him drink dangerous amounts of alcohol and then failed to get help when he became unconscious.

David Bogenberger was found dead in the Pi Kappa Alpha house Nov. 2 after an initiation party the previous night.

Bogenberger, 19, who graduated from Palatine High School, had a blood alcohol level almost five times the legal limit for driving, authorities said.

Also named in the wrongful death suit are 22 members of the fraternity.

The suit, filed Thursday by Bogenberger's father, Gary, alleges that chapter leaders made heavy drinking a condition of membership and encouraged the victim to consume "excessive and dangerous amounts of alcohol," according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that the fraternity's national organization, Pi Kappa Alpha, failed to ensure that its chapters were warned about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and did not make enough effort to ensure that the Eta Nu chapter was following its hazing policies.

"The national organization has a responsibility to provide meaningful training, supervision and oversight to its local chapters, so that fraternity members understand that alcohol-related hazing is ... potentially deadly," Peter Coladarci, the family's lawyer, said in a statement.

All 22 students named in the suit also face criminal charges, including the five leaders of the chapter, who were charged with felony hazing.

Filed in Cook County Circuit Court, the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

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