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Fraternity hazing cases due in court today

Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 11:16 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 11:17 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Three of the five fraternity members charged with felony hazing in connection with a Northern Illinois University freshman pledge's death are due in court this afternoon.

The cases of James Harvey, 21, of DeKalb; Omar Salameh, 21, of DeKalb, and Steven A. Libert, 20, of Naperville, are scheduled for their first court appearance. Alexander M Handick, 21, of Naperville, is next due in court Feb. 11.

Patrick W. Merrill, 19, of DeKalb, also was charged with a felony but no court date had been scheduled as of Friday morning.

The felony charges, as well as 17 misdemeanor charges, were announced last month. Authorities said 19-year-old David Bogenberger died with a blood-alcohol content of 0.351 percent after a "parents night" event at Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, 1020 W. Hillcrest Drive, DeKalb. The event was not sanctioned by Northern Illinois University or the national fraternity organization.

On Nov. 1, Bogenberger and the other pledges drank vodka and other liquor from plastic cups for about two hours while playing a game in which they were asked a series of questions after being assigned “moms” and “dads,” authorities said. The moms were fraternity members’ girlfriends or members of various sororities, while the dads were upperclassmen in the fraternity.

The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, along with 31 student members, also are facing university-based charges that could affect the fraternity’s permanent status as a registered student organization, Northern Illinois University officials have said. The students face various sanctions, with penalties possibly rising to expulsion from the university.

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