Most college freshman who decide to join fraternities or sororities understand that they will be subject to various hazing rituals, but few expect the hazing to become fatal. Some of these rituals, however, involve conduct that could prove dangerous, even lethal. The recent death of a freshman at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge demonstrates how hazing can cross the line from relatively harmless fun to serious criminal charges.
Recently, Baton Rouge police announced their intention to arrest 10 fraternity members for the death of a fraternity pledge during a hazing ritual. According to police, the fraternity scheduled a rite called, “bible study,” where pledges were asked questions about the fraternity. If a pledge gave a wrong answer, he was required to drink alcohol.
The morning after bible study, a pledge was found on a fraternity couch passed out. He had a weak pulse and was unresponsive
The young man was taken to a hospital, where he died later in the day. According to one witness, the victim was “highly intoxicated” when he was found. And, a representative of the coroner’s office said that the victim’s blood alcohol content was “highly elevated.”
Police obtained a warrant to search the fraternity house. They found a duffel bag filled with beer cans and liquor bottles. Police are also examining cell phones of those present and the victim’s cell phone. The 10 members are expected to turn themselves into police, and then the police will formally charge them. At least one member faces a negligent homicide charge.
When drinking is involved, fun can quickly turn dangerous, but everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And, anyone involved in a similar incident faces a permanent blot on his or her record. Luckily, the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer may be the only way to avoid the long-term consequences of criminal conviction.
Source: American Press, “Police to arrest 10 people in LSU fraternity pledge’s death,” Oct. 11, 2017