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11 Arrested in Fraternity Pledge’s Alcohol-Poisoning Death, Police Say

Eight individuals have been arrested on Friday and three others on Monday after an investigation into the loss of life of Adam Oakes, a pupil at Virginia Commonwealth College who died in February from alcohol poisoning at a fraternity get together, the authorities stated.

All 11 who have been arrested face prices of illegal hazing of a pupil, the Richmond, Va., police stated in an announcement. Six of them face an extra cost of shopping for and giving alcohol to a minor. All 11 are V.C.U. college students, and 9 of them have been enrolled within the fall 2021 semester, based on an announcement from the college.

In response to Mr. Oakes’s family, the younger man’s loss of life, which drew nationwide consideration and renewed questions on hazing in Greek organizations throughout the nation, occurred at an off-campus get together on Feb. 26 on the Delta Chi fraternity home, the place he was given a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and advised to drink it.

Mr. Oakes, 19, was discovered useless the subsequent morning by Richmond law enforcement officials, the authorities stated.

Courtney White, Mr. Oakes’s cousin, stated on Saturday that whereas the household was feeling “a bit little bit of reduction” as a result of the case was shifting ahead, it was nonetheless painful to know that nothing, together with the costs, was “going to convey him again.”

“Lots of people are saying that these boys are simply boys,” Ms. White stated. “However the truth is that Adam was only a boy, too, and so they took full benefit of him. And had any certainly one of them stepped up and truly acted like a person and known as for assist, Adam would nonetheless be right here.”

Members of the family said on Facebook that they have been “grateful for some measure of justice these prices and arrests might produce, in addition to the safety from hazing they could give younger, impressionable school college students.”

“The previous 7 months have been agonizing for our household,” they wrote. “That is the primary time these younger males have been held accountable for his or her traditionally poisonous and damaging traditions, manipulation of the VCU disciplinary methods, and for Adam’s loss of life.”

The police named these arrested as Alexander Bradley, Benjamin J. Corado, Robert Fritz, Quinn A. Kuby, Riley Okay. McDaniel, Alessandro Medina-Villanueva, Jason B. Mulgrew, Christian G. Rohrbach, Colin G. Tran, Enayat W. Sheikhzad and Andrew White. They vary in age from 19 to 22. Mr. Sheikhzad and Mr. White weren’t enrolled within the fall 2021 semester, V.C.U. stated in an announcement.

It was not clear on Saturday whether or not eight of them had legal professionals. None may instantly be reached for touch upon Saturday or Monday.

A website for Delta Chi listed Mr. Corado, Mr. Kuby, Mr. Medina-Villanueva, Mr. Mulgrew, Mr. Rohrbach and Mr. Tran as a part of the V.C.U. chapter’s management workforce.

The college stated in an announcement that “V.C.U. continues to mourn the tragic loss of life of Adam Oakes and is grateful to the Richmond Police Division for its investigation.”

“V.C.U. is devoted to persevering with its efforts, introduced this summer time, to advertise a secure and welcoming fraternity and sorority life tradition for all,” the college stated.

The college additionally stated that pupil privateness legal guidelines prohibited it from “sharing potential disciplinary data.”

V.C.U. permanently expelled Delta Chi from campus in Could, after it employed a consulting agency to check its Greek tradition. The agency, Dyad Methods, announced in an August report that whereas the college wasn’t an outlier in contrast with different schools’ Greek organizations, it nonetheless struggled to handle considerations about binge consuming and hazing.

Seven of these arrested have been taken into custody by the Virginia Commonwealth College Police and have been being held with out bond on the Richmond Justice Middle. Mr. Sheikhzad was arrested by the Virginia State Police and launched on bond.

Fraternity organizations have been beneath intense scrutiny lately, after high-profile instances which have drawn the ire of anti-hazing activists and victims’ family members who say that the culture of Greek life is dangerous and shrouded in secrecy. In 2017, Timothy Piazza, a student at Penn State University, died after he turned drunk, fell and was left in a single day by fraternity members who knew he wanted assist however failed to hunt it.

Chun Hsien Deng, an 18-year-old freshman at Baruch College in New York City, died in 2013 after sustaining main mind trauma whereas participating in a fraternity hazing ritual.

“Bullying retains you out of a gaggle; hazing is having to show your self to be part of this group,” stated Dennis Goodwin, a co-founder of Anti-Hazing Collaborative, a company dedicated to stopping hazing amongst younger individuals.

Whereas many fraternity members name each other “brothers,” Mr. Goodwin stated he didn’t suppose college students must be a part of “households” that drive them to “do one thing that would result in loss of life.”

Some anti-hazing activists stated they have been hopeful that prosecutions in instances corresponding to Mr. Oakes’s would show that these crimes have been now taken critically.

Rae Ann Gruver, the founder and president of the Max Gruver Basis, has spent years attempting to finish hazing on school campuses. Her son, Max, died in 2017 “as a direct results of fraternity hazing,” the organization says on-line.

“The an increasing number of these children get prosecuted and indicted and truly see punishment, and that prosecutors are able to prosecute them, that’s actually going to discourage these children,” Ms. Gruver stated.

Many states’ hazing legal guidelines are categorised as misdemeanors, she stated, which suggests much less time in jail if convicted. If these legal guidelines develop into felonies, no younger grownup “goes to need that on their report,” Ms. Gruver stated.

In Virginia, the place Mr. Oakes’s case is going down, hazing is a misdemeanor.

“I do suppose fraternity headquarters are getting extra on board and actually having a no-tolerance coverage and getting all the way down to it, nevertheless it’s taking time,” Ms. Gruver stated.

If somebody hazes, she stated, “it’s towards the regulation, and you need to be prosecuted similar to some other crime.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/25/us/adam-oakes-death-hazing.html | 11 Arrested in Fraternity Pledge’s Alcohol-Poisoning Demise, Police Say

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