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VICTIM'S FAMILY FILES SUIT AGAINST FRATERNITY LINKED TO DEADLY HAZING

On Friday, it will be three years since Scott Krueger's death.

And his Orchard Park family still is fighting to make sure everyone involved is held accountable.

Krueger's mother, Darlene, is suing the fraternity her 18-year-old son was pledging at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997 when he died from an initiation that required him to drink large quantities of alcohol.

The lawsuit against Phi Gamma Delta was filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, less than two weeks after MIT agreed to pay the Krueger family $4.75 million and spend another $1.25 million to establish a scholarship in Scott Krueger's name.

"This is not about money, this is about accountability," said the Kruegers' attorney, Bradley M. Henry.

The timing of the lawsuit was merely because of a three-year statute of limitations that was about to run out, Henry said.

"(The family wants) all persons responsible to be held accountable," Henry said by telephone from Boston on Wednesday evening. "No one has forgotten the fraternity's role. The fraternity, unlike MIT, took no step forward to resolve the issue with the Kruegers."

The family never sued MIT, but would have if the university hadn't agreed to the settlement.

The MIT chapter of the fraternity, meanwhile, was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury for hazing and manslaughter, but no one was ever arraigned because the chapter was disbanded before it went to court.

"They simply can't disband themselves out of accountability," Henry said.

In addition to the national organization and the local chapter, Mrs. Krueger -- on behalf of her son's estate -- also is suing the fraternity's officers at the time
and the corporation that ran the house in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston.

The Lexington, Ky.-based fraternity issued a statement Wednesday calling Krueger's death a "tragic incident," but said it would not comment on the suit because it had not seen it and would "answer the allegations in court."

Krueger, an Orchard Park High School graduate, was a freshman at MIT when he fell into a coma and died Sept. 29, 1997, after being pressured to drink huge quantities of alcohol as part of a pledge contest at "Animal House Night" in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house.

His death prompted colleges in the Boston area and nationwide to re-examine campus alcohol policies. MIT toughened its housing and alcohol policies.

Phi Gamma Delta has since banned alcohol at its more than 110 chapters at American and Canadian colleges, but Henry said that is merely symbolic.

"Phi Gamma Delta's policies are policies in name only, not in practice," he said.

"The Kruegers are prepared to go to trial on this," Henry said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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