The family of George Desdunes filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Monday, seeking to hold Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity responsible for the 19-year-old's death in an alleged hazing incident. He was found unconscious on a couch at the Cornell fraternity in February and was later pronounced dead.
The lawsuit alleges that Desdunes, who was already a full member of the fraternity, was kidnapped by fraternity pledges of SAE as part of a long-standing fraternity ritual.
According to court documents, the pledges quizzed Desdunes about SAE and compelled him to consume alcohol until he lost consciousness several times. Instead of seeking the medical treatment he required, the lawsuit alleges that they took him to the fraternity house, still bound at the wrists and ankles, and dumped him on a couch, where he was left to die.
"With the death of my son, I find some comfort in knowing that this lawsuit may bring about changes in fraternities that will prevent other families from suffering as I have," his mother said.
If human decency and common sense aren't enough to make some fraternity members at colleges across the country reconsider their senseless and dangerous practices, perhaps the $25 million in damages sought in this case will be.
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