Five members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of California, Irvine have been charged with misdemeanors for the death of their underage member, Noah Domingo, in January.
The five members, who were on the lease of an off-campus fraternity house in Irvine, have all been charged with misdemeanors for violating Irvine city code by allowing a party or gathering where underage drinking was permitted, according to the Los Angeles Times
In addition to the charges above, 21-year-old Zavier Larenz Brown was also charged with one misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor causing great bodily injury.
The other member, 22-year-old Jonathan Anephi Vu, has also been charged with one misdemeanor count of furnishing an alcoholic beverage to a minor.
Officials said there was no evidence indicating that the defendants had engaged in hazing in connection to the death of Domingo.
However, if convicted of all charges, Brown could face a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail, while the other members, 21-year-old Mohamed Ibragim Kharaev, 20-year-old Caleb Gavin Valleroy, 21-year-old Jonathan Gabriel Villicana, and Vu could face a maximum of six months.
Domingo was found unresponsive at around 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 12 after someone called 911.
On March 11, a statement from the coroner’s office stated that the teen died from alcohol poisoning and his blood-alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit.
In a statement released on Wednesday, District Attorney Todd Spitzer said it is “reckless and dangerous” to provide alcohol to those who are under the legal drinking age, adding, “especially in an environment that is notorious for excessive drinking by young people who may not understand the potential risks of their behavior.”
“Unfortunately, current law prevented prosecutors from filing anything more than a misdemeanor in this case,” Spitzer said. “The furnishing of alcohol to a minor that results in great bodily injury or death should be a felony, and the Orange County district attorney’s office is pursuing legislation to make that change.”
Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national organization has suspended the UCI chapter following the news.
All five members are scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Nov. 21.