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Zeta Beta Tau Suing Men Charged in Hazing Death for Using Frat Name

by Tracy Connor /  / Updated 
Students arrested in connection with an alcohol-related death in Albany, New York, from left, top, Keith Rosengarten, Olaf Jablonski, Yuval Sucov, bottom, Steven Villa and Jonathan Maldonado.Albany Police Dept.

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New York college students charged in the hazing death of a pledge allegedly ordered to drink a half gallon of booze are facing a new legal headache — a fraternity plans to sue them for setting up a "rogue" chapter.

The national office of Zeta Beta Tau said in a statement that the organization has no affiliation with the seven young men facing criminal charges and is hiring a lawyer to sue them for false representation and "damaging the otherwise exceptional reputation of our fraternity."

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Students arrested in connection with an alcohol-related death in Albany, New York, from left, top, Keith Rosengarten, Olaf Jablonski, Yuval Sucov, bottom, Steven Villa and Jonathan Maldonado.Albany Police Dept.

Police have said that Trevor Duffy, 19, died on Nov. 15, 2014, during an initiation for an "unsanctioned" fraternity at the State University of New York at Albany. But the frat insists the students were "a separate rogue group" that used the ZBT name without authorization and had no ties to a recognized chapter on campus.

Arrest warrants in the case say the men who organized the hazing "required, ordered, and encouraged" Duffy and the other pledges to drink nearly half a gallon of the "alcohol of their choice." His blood-alcohol level was seven times the legal limit when he was taken to the hospital, where he died of an alcohol overdose.

In a crackdown on hazing, ZBT eliminated all pledging in 1989 — but the frat's record has not been spotless.

In 2003, four ZBT members at Alfred University pleaded guilty in connection with the beating of student who later committed suicide. Last year, its Columbia University chapter lost its house after a hazing incident and eventually disbanded.

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