Seriousness of College/High School Hazing Crimes
According to a survey conducted by Alfred University, approximately 80% of all college athletes have been hazed survey. Most hazing on high school, college and pro levels is not reported. However, since 1980, the media has brought to the public’s attention through police reports or the courts more hazing among athletes being abused. Several athletes have suffered serious injuries and death.
Northern Illinois University Fraternity Members Face hazing Charges After Student Dies
A more recent incident involving hazing occurred last year when members of a Northern Illinois University fraternity turned themselves in after the death of a freshman, David Bogenberger, 19. According to the coroner, Bogenberger was found dead on November 2, 2012, as a result of cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication and a blood –alcohol content five times that of the legal driving limit, after a night of drinking. The night before Bogenberger’s death, he had participated in a non-sanctioned event called “parents’ night,” which involved fraternity pledges moving from room to room, answering questions from other fraternity members and being provided with alcohol. A spokesperson for the University said the fraternity and 31 members have been accused of violating the school code of conduct and zero tolerance for hazing. The fraternity could be asked to forfeit its standing as a student organization and the students could face expulsion and other penalties.
Illinois Hazing Laws
Under Illinois law, hazing is illegal. According to Lt. Jason Leverton of the Dekalb, Illinois police department, 22 arrest warrants were issued for members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Five of the fraternity members were charged with felony hazing and 17 more face misdemeanor charges. The 17 students facing misdemeanor charges could spend up to one year in jail and receive $10,000 in fines if convicted. The other 5 members charged with felony hazing could spend from one to three years in jail and face $25,000 fines if convicted. There are 44 other states that have laws banning hazing. The hazing death of Florida A & M drum major Robert Champion in 2011 has also brought the seriousness of college and sports hazing to the forefront.
Participating in a hazing event can have serious consequences, especially if someone dies as a result of the hazing. Persons who have been charged with felony or misdemeanor hazing require the assistance of a good Illinois criminal defense attorney to help them fight the charges. While hazing is sometimes hard to prove and juries have a hard time understanding it, such charges should be taken seriously, as they can ruin a student athlete’s life jeopardizing scholarship and other funding and their chance to play college or professional sports.