NIU frat members charged in hazing surrender to police

While members of a fraternity began surrendering to police throughout the region Tuesday, Northern Illinois University officials said more than 30 men and women at the school also face disciplinary sanctions in the death of a freshman pledge.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 13 of 22 Pi Kappa Alpha members charged in the death of David Bogenberger had walked into police stations and were processed, DeKalb police said in a statement. At least seven posted bond and were released, police said.

DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack declined to say whether his office is considering additional actions against those involved. Authorities on Monday charged five members of the fraternity with felony hazing violations and 17 others with misdemeanor counts stemming from Bogenberger's death.

Those who turned themselves in Tuesday included three of the five fraternity leaders charged with felony hazing: fraternity president Alexander M. Jandick, 21, of Naperville; pledge adviser Omar Salameh, 21, of DeKalb; and event planner Steven Libert, 20, also of Naperville.

For two hours on Nov. 1 at the Pi Kappa Alpha house, the 19-year-old finance major from Palatine participated in an unsanctioned "parents' night," in which pledges walked from room to room and answered questions in exchange for vodka and other liquor, authorities allege.

The next morning, Bogenberger was found dead in a fraternity house bed. His blood-alcohol content was about five times the legal limit for driving, authorities said.

Those responsible for the party violated Illinois' hazing statute by providing a large quantity of alcohol to underage pledges and "creating a situation where the pledges felt compelled to consume alcohol as part of membership initiation and the Greek parenting process," according to a statement from DeKalb city and county officials and Bogenberger's family.

In addition to the criminal charges against the 22 fraternity members, NIU officials said they filed university code-of-conduct charges against 31 fraternity and sorority members alleging violations related to hazing and alcohol.

NIU previously had said 31 fraternity members faced charges but amended that Tuesday to state that the number includes fraternity and sorority members. It's likely that some students face both criminal and university disciplinary charges.

Penalties range from a reprimand to suspension or expulsion from the school.

"I believe there will be more charges coming," said Jeanne Meyer, NIU's director of community standards and student conduct. "We will pursue whatever information we receive."

University officials said Pi Kappa Alpha violated university procedures by failing to register the "parents' night" party, an annual event so named because senior members of the fraternity and associated sororities are assigned as mentors to new members. Bogenberger was among 19 pledges at the party.

His cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, but alcohol intoxication was listed as "a significant condition contributing to death," the joint statement reported.

The school suspended Pi Kappa Alpha shortly after Bogenberger died, and the fraternity's main headquarters, which sponsors, said Tuesday that the DeKalb chapter remains "administratively suspended."

In a statement, Pi Kappa Alpha Executive Vice President Justin Buck said the parents' night "may represent some type of locally developed, informal activity ... which stray(s) from the fraternity's mission and values, and can create dangerous environments for young people."

A few hours earlier in DeKalb, NIU student Chris Rowe walked across the shuttered fraternity house lawn and said he supported the filing of charges in Bogenberger's death.

"Somebody lost their life — it's not like they broke a finger," said Rowe, of Chicago. "Somebody should be held responsible."

Clifford Ward is a freelance writer. Jodi S. Cohen is a Tribune reporter. Tribune reporter Ted Gregory contributed.

Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking

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