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Stone Foltz family sues Pi Kappa Alpha, 20 individuals, after BGSU student's hazing death

Foltz was a BGSU student killed in an alcohol-related hazing incident last March.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The family of Stone Foltz filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday in Franklin County Court against the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, Delta Beta chapter of the fraternity at Bowling Green State University and 20 individuals. 

Foltz died in March after an alcohol-related hazing incident. According to the lawsuit, his family says he was forced to drink the equivalent of 40 shots of liquor in less than 20 minutes and was left for dead by his fraternity brothers.

Defendants named in the lawsuit are:

  • Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, Inc.
  • Pi Kappa Alpha, Delta Beta Chapter
  • Daylen Dunson, Troy Henricksen, Jacob Krinn, Jarrett Prizel, Garrett Hord, Jamir Dodson, Canyon Caldwell, Benjamin Boyers, Niall Sweeney, Aaron Lehane
  • 10 John Does

Dunson, Henricksen, Prizel, Hord, Dodson, Boyers and Sweeney are being sued individually and as an officer of the BGSU chapter.

All named defendants except Hord and Dodson were charged with various crimes in April. Charges against Boyers were dismissed.

Rex Elliott and Sean Alto, attorneys with Cooper Elliott, the law firm representing the Stone Foltz family, issued a statement Tuesday:

“By filing a civil complaint on behalf of Stone Foltz and the Foltz family, we are doing what is necessary to hold the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, the local fraternity chapter, and individuals accountable for their behavior that led to Stone Foltz’s death. 

"The complaint details a disturbing history of hazing within the international fraternity dating back almost 60 years, culminating in the tragic wrongful death of Stone Foltz. While nothing can bring Stone back to his family, we are confident the family will get justice and accountability through the legal system.”

The suit provides over a dozen examples of Pi Kappa Alpha members being killed or seriously injured in the past several decades. One of the highlighted examples is a 2018 incident at BGSU.

Copies of the anonymous complaints are included, which states new pledges were required to strip down to their underwear and fight each other in a large hole that had been dug.

According to the lawsuit, Krinn provided Foltz a bottle of alcohol, who was forced to consume the entire bottle before he left. Foltz drank the bottle in as few as 18 minutes.

The suit also alleges Krinn was to spend the night with Foltz to make sure he was safe. Instead, Foltz was left alone on his couch at his apartment.

BGSU INVESTIGATION

A Bowling Green State University investigation into the hazing death of Stone Foltz found the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity's conduct and culture to be problematic as far back as 2018.

An April 9 letter obtained by WTOL 11 and written by Jeremy Zilmer, BGSU associate dean of students, states the hazing incident from March was of the most "egregious and severe nature." He also details a similar incident involving alcohol from 2018 that he says members covered up.

The investigation also uncovered "deception and dishonesty" on the part of several fraternity members in the aftermath of Foltz's death.

"Hazing is repugnant and intolerable," Zilmer said in the letter to the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter president. "One new member, Stone Foltz, died following the March 4 unsanctioned event ... The organization’s conduct demonstrates reckless disregard for the health and safety of individuals."

The investigation revealed a "deep culture of deception rooted in the organization," saying members were not truthful with university staff and investigators when questioned about Foltz's death. 

The letter says leadership lied about their presence at the event and made it challenging for investigators to gather truthful information. 

"Some of the organization members interviewed attempted to minimize to the investigators the conduct that occurred during the 'Big/Little' event, specifically the role of alcohol during the event and the intoxication level of the new members," the letter states. "It was learned during the investigation that the details surrounding 'Big/Little Night' were to be withheld from the new members."

The investigators learned a report of a similar unsanctioned event in 2018 previously denied by all participants did occur.

The letter, which was sent to inform the chapter president the fraternity was being permanently banned from campus, lists several findings from the March incident. It states Foltz and other new members were led into a basement, blindfolded and "yelled at and pushed" in an effort to disoreint them.

On April 29, eight people were charged with various crimes in Foltz's death. Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said at the time more people could be charged.

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