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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fraternity Hazing Blamed for Death

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (CN) - Parents say a fraternity hazing ritual killed their son from alcohol poisoning. The family says the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Beta house at Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo forced each pledge to drink from a "brown bag" of alcohol until he "pukes."

Scott and Julia Starkey say their son Carson died of the forced drinking, and because no one at the fraternity house sought medical help.

The Starkeys say the fraternity brothers "instructed" Carson, a first-semester freshman, to finish his bag of liquor as a condition of joining the fraternity. Though he obviously was very ill after drinking, no one got him medical help, his parents say.

The fraternity has risk management policies, but "deliberately, purposefully took no reasonable, effective measures to enforce [them]," the parents say.

The Starkeys sued the fraternity, the chapter, the chapter's president, Starkey's "Big Brother" in the fraternity and eight other fraternity brothers in San Louis Obispo Superior Court.

They seek punitive damages for hazing, negligence and other claims. They are represented by Ivo Labar with Kerr & Wagstaffe of San Francisco.

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