Local News

Police investigate Duke hazing accusation

Posted May 23, 2008 8:50 p.m. EDT
Updated May 24, 2008 8:21 a.m. EDT

— City and university police are investigating accusations that a Duke University student needed hospital care after a hazing incident during a fraternity event in April.

Student Daniel Klufas, of Easton, Conn., and his family have hired a lawyer and private investigator since the incident.

Klufas said brothers in Alpha Delta Phi, the fraternity he was pledging, made him take off his clothes while they  threw cold water on him, according to attorney, Stephan E. Seeger of Stamford, Conn.

“Somebody decides they are going to fix his shivering by pouring warm water on him. The warm water sends him into uncontrollable shivering and shock,” Seeger said.

Seeger said the combination of cold water followed by warm water meant Klufas had to be taken to the hospital.

“The behavior the evening of the hazing is at minimum … reckless behavior that caused life-threatening injuries to my client,” Seeger said.

Seeger said that when Klufas tried to report the incident to Durham Police, officers told Klufas he stood to be arrested as well because a state statute says that anyone who engages in hazing can be charged.

“My guy is the victim of hazing. He didn’t haze himself,” Seeger said.

A Duke spokesman said the university can’t comment on these types of situations due to federal law. In general, if a hazing complaint is filed, the university investigates and determines if students should be punished.

Duke has a policy against hazing, with the maximum penalty being expulsion.

The national Alpha Delta Phi Web site lists a chapter at Duke University, but that chapter is not listed on the university’s Web site as an affiliated fraternity.

Klufas’ family is sending private investigator Vito Colucci to North Carolina to look into the incident.

“People need to be held accountable for this, and that’s what we are trying to do,” Colucci said.