|New Claims Filed In Lawsuit Over Fraternity Hazing Death at NIU|
|Kami Dimitrova||Aug 24, 2013, 12:31 PM|
New details have emerged in the lawsuit over the death of 19-year-old David Bodenberger, a freshman at Northern Illinois University, who died on Nov. 2, 2012 after allegedly being hazed while pledging fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha.
The lawsuit against the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, 22 of its members, and 16 female defendants, which seeks a $100,000 settlement, was filed by the family of Bodenberger.
The amended claim, filed in Cook County last week, gives a detailed account of what allegedly occurred the night before Bodenberger died from cardiac arrhythmia and alcohol intoxication, according to the Dekalb County Police Department.
The new claim says that during "Mom and Dad's Night" - an initiation event that was not registered with the university - 19 pledges, including Bodenberger, were allegedly asked to divide themselves into groups of two or three. They then were asked to rotate among seven rooms to answer personal questions about their sexual history and preferences posed to them by members of Pi Kappa Alpha and members of a guest sorority.
Each pledge was reportedly given a four-ounce plastic cup which he was to bring from room to room where it would be filled with vodka, consumed as determined and required by the active members and women there, according to the claim. Reluctance to drink would result in pledges being berated with insults until giving way, according to the claim. Pledges allegedly drank three to five glasses of vodka over an hour and a half.
Executive fraternity officers, active members and participating women would not have to drink alcohol during the night, according to the claim.
The pledges were then reportedly escorted to the basement of the house where they were given customized t-shirts, paddles and buckets (decorated by the women) for participants to vomit in. The claim states that during the event, pledges also vomited on themselves, each other, in rooms and on hallway floors.
The new claims allege that after the pledges were unconscious and had been placed in various rooms in the house, members of the fraternity reportedly adjusted the position of their heads and bodies so that if they vomited they would not choke. The members allegedly decided not to call an ambulance or seek medical help for the unconscious pledges, and they told others not to call 911. A fraternity officer also allegedly sent a mass text message to members ordering them to delete photographs and videos of pledges who were unconscious, according to the suit.
ABC News reported in December that Bodenberger, found dead the day after the November initiation, had an alcohol content five times higher than the legal limit, according to the DeKalb County Coroner's Office. As a result, police said that 22 arrest warrants were issued, claiming that the fraternity members violated Illinois' hazing statute.
The Eta Nu Chapter, the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at Northern Illinois, which is located in DeKalb County, remains suspended, according to a statement issued by the fraternity.
International Pi Kappa Alpha, which oversees all chapters of the fraternity, issued a statement on Dec. 18, 2012 in response to the college student's death. "The International Fraternity's thoughts and prayers remain with the family, friends, and all of those affected by this horrible tragedy," the fraternity said. "This is yet one more unfortunate example of an ill conceived and unauthorized activity involving alcohol and potentially hazing, which could have been avoided."
Northern Illinois University is conducting its own investigation, separate from that of police, according to a statement issued by the university in December of last year.
The newly revised claims were derived from police reports and hearings held at Northern Illinois University, according to the Chicago Daily Herald.
The lawsuit has been modified before. The previous amendment was in May, when 16 women were added to the list of defendants.
The next hearing in Cook County circuit court is on Sept. 18.
ABC's attempts to reach Bodenberger's lawyer Peter Calidarci were not successful.