10 charged in death of Louisiana State fraternity pledge

(Reuters) - Police have charged 10 people in the death of a Louisiana State University fraternity pledge after a night of suspected alcohol-fueled hazing at the social group's house, the school said on Wednesday.

The 10 are charged with hazing in the death of Maxwell Gruver, an 18-year-old freshman from Roswell, Georgia, last month after a drinking bout at the Phi Delta Theta house, the university said in a statement. One faces a charge of negligent homicide, it said.

School spokesman Ernie Ballard said eight of the 10 were now enrolled at Louisiana State.

Gruver's death has brought renewed focus to drinking and sometimes-fatal hazing at college fraternities. In one high-profile case, 16 Pennsylvania State University students face charges in the death of a prospective member after a drinking game.

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LSU freshman Maxwell Gruver -- potential frat hazing case
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LSU freshman Maxwell Gruver -- potential frat hazing case
Grandfather of LSU freshman Maxwell Gruver: "I just wake up at night and say, 'Max is dead.' I can’t believe it." https://t.co/kLSjQZrlhf
Frat under investigation after LSU student's death has spotty record https://t.co/B0DoaU0rnX https://t.co/cCkACbAqUI
18-year-old Maxwell Gruver died at the hospital after transported from frat...Coroner says he will perform autopsy… https://t.co/69hqCaQjAY
LSU freshman Maxwell Gruver dies in possible fraternity hazing incident involving alcohol https://t.co/mBBGaYZPXV https://t.co/CyR9zliKoe
Police at Louisiana State Univ. are investigating whether a fraternity hazing led to the death of a freshman studen… https://t.co/CAAyXe0sYJ
LSU student’s death may be result of alcohol-fueled hazing, officials say. https://t.co/pFfRcJ3qBc
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A report by LSU campus police said Gruver was taken by private vehicle to a Baton Rouge hospital on Sept. 14 after being found unresponsive following a night of drinking at the fraternity house. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, the report said.

Citing a police search warrant, the Advocate newspaper reported that Gruver and other prospective members received a group text message on Sept. 13 saying "Bible Study" would take place that night at 10 p.m. at the chapter house.

Pledges there were asked questions about the fraternity and forced to drink if they answered incorrectly, the newspaper said.

School President F. King Alexander has condemned hazing and launched a review of fraternity and sorority policies and behavior. Phi Delta Theta has lost its charter and been kicked off the Louisiana State campus.

In shuttering the Louisiana State chapter, Phi Delta Theta's national organization said it had violated risk-management policies, including one on alcohol-free housing.

The school had no information about lawyers for the 10 charged. The Phi Delta Theta national chapter had no immediate comment on the charges.

Fraternities and sororities are social clubs at many U.S. colleges and often have their own housing.

If convicted, those charged with hazing face from 10 to 30 days in jail, a fine of $10 to $100 and expulsion from school. Conviction for criminal negligence calls for up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)

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