11 Charged with fraternity pledge alcohol poisoning

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RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) – Eight men were charged with alcohol poisoning the death of a Virginia Commonwealth University fraternity pledge after a party earlier this year, Richmond Police said Friday.

The eight men arrested on Friday are between 19 and 22 years old, police said. All are charged with molesting a student, and four are also charged with buying and giving alcohol to a minor. Seven were detained at the Richmond Justice Center without ties. The eighth was arrested in Prince William County and released on bail. The police said that three more defendants will surrender in the coming days.

The indictment comes nearly seven months after the death of 19-year-old Adam Oakes of Loudoun County. The chief physician’s office decided that his death was caused by alcohol poisoning.

Oakes had received an offer for the Delta Chi Brotherhood and was attending a party where he would receive his “big brother” the night before his death. Oakes was instructed to drink a large bottle of whiskey and later passed out on a couch in an off-campus residence, his family said. The next morning he was found dead.

The Richmond Police, Campus Police and the university are investigating. The chapter was suspended from the university and the Brotherhood’s national headquarters, and in June the Brotherhood was expelled from the VCU.

Last month, the university announced that it would ban alcohol at student union and sorority events, post cases of wrongdoing online, and suspend recruiting. On the same day, two surveys of Greek university life on campus were published which found that the university had concerns about cloudiness and binge drinking and the staff had made efforts to address them.

The Oakes family thanked them in a statement, news agencies reported.

“We are grateful for the level of justice these charges and arrests can produce, as well as the protection from harassment they can offer young, impressionable college students,” the statement said. “The last seven months have been excruciating for our family. This is the first time these young men have been held accountable for their historically toxic and destructive traditions, manipulation of the VCU disciplinary systems, and Adam’s death. “

The university also issued a statement after the arrests.

“VCU continues to mourn the tragic death of Adam Oakes and is grateful to the Richmond Police for their investigation,” the statement said. “VCU is keen to continue the efforts announced this summer to promote a safe and welcoming fraternity and student culture for all.”

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