Local News

Duke student to file complaint in hazing incident

Posted August 9, 2008 4:33 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2008 7:17 p.m. EDT

— A Duke University student who claims he needed hospital care after a hazing incident during a fraternity event plans to file a complaint before a magistrate.

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

“Nobody else is willing to come forward to say anything except for me,” Klufas said.

On April 25, 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.

“It resulted in me having seizures, going into shock, hyperventilating,” Klufas said.

Klufas said the incident caused him to end up at Duke Hospital for treatment.

“I understand that it’s a fraternity that there’s stuff involved, but nobody expects to give their life for something like that,” Klufas said.

Seeger said 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.

“It was confusing to me how anybody can say you can be charged in connection with your own hazing,” Seeger said.

Seeger said he met with Duke University officials on Friday. Larry Moneta, Duke University vice president for Student Affairs, said he could not confirm the meeting or provide any other information about the situation due to federal law.

Seeger and his client plan to file a complaint with the magistrate against a particular individual by Sunday. Seeger said the state statute allows people to bring complaints before a magistrate judge to determine probable cause.

“My understanding is that if probable cause is found, they’ll have to investigate, and we won’t have to speculate any further what motivates the police department or the district attorney’s office to not pursue the matter,” Seeger said.

Seeger also said a civil lawsuit might be filed.

“This is an egregious thing that’s happened,” Seeger said.

Durham County District Attorney David Saacks could not be reached for comment.

A Duke spokesman in May said that federal law prevents the university from commenting on these types of situations. 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 left Durham shortly after the incident. Seeger said university officials made arrangements to allow Klufas to finish his coursework. He was in Durham this weekend to take final exams to complete his freshman year at the university.

Klufas is still a Duke student but said he is unsure if he will return to the school next semester.