RICHMOND, Va. — Eleven people have been indicted on charges related to the February alcohol poisoning death of 19-year-old Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Adam Oakes, according to multiple reports.
Richmond police told WRIC-TV that eight people had been arrested as of Friday on charges of unlawful hazing of a student. Three of them, identified as Benjamin J. Corado, 19; Quinn A. Kuby, 22; and Colin G. Tran, 20, were also arrested on charges of purchasing or giving alcohol to a minor. WRIC identified the other five people arrested as: Riley K. McDaniel, 21; Alessandro Medina-Villanueva, 21; Jason B. Mulgrew, 21; Christian G. Rohrbach, 22; and Enayat W. Sheikhzad, 22.
Authorities did not immediately identify the three suspects who had yet to be arrested Friday.
Oakes died in February after attending a party sponsored by the Delta Chi fraternity at which he was supposed to meet his fraternity big brother, who would have guided him as he pledged the fraternity, family members told The Washington Post. He was found dead about 12 hours after the party of what a medical examiner ruled to be accidental alcohol poisoning, the newspaper reported.
A VCU spokesman told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that most of the people arrested Friday are students at the university, although he said he could not say whether they were members of Delta Chi due to privacy laws. A VCU website listed Corado, Kuby, Tran, Medina-Villanueva, Mulgrew and Rohrbach as members of the fraternity’s leadership team.
In a statement obtained by the Post, Oakes’ family members said the charges gave them some relief, but they added that they hoped more serious charges would be filed in the case. The charges announced Friday are all misdemeanor offenses.
“We are grateful for some measure of justice these charges and arrests may produce, as well as the protection from hazing they may give young, impressionable college students,” the statement read. “The past seven months have been agonizing 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 for Adam’s death.”
In June, VCU expelled Delta Chi from the campus, WRIC reported. A consulting firm hired by the university last month determined that Greek life at VCU raised concerns of hazing and binge drinking, which the university struggled to address, the Times-Dispatch reported. The report also found that the concerns were not unique to the university but that Greek organizations provide members with a “largely positive and meaningful” experience, according to the Times-Dispatch and the Post.
After the review, university officials banned alcohol at Greek events this school year, paused the recruitment of new members and committed to publishing incidents of misconduct online, the Post reported.
“VCU continues to mourn the tragic death of Adam Oakes and is grateful to the Richmond Police Department for its investigation,” university officials said in a statement obtained by WTVR-TV. “VCU is dedicated to continuing its efforts, announced this summer, to promote a safe and welcoming fraternity and sorority life culture for all.”
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