A US jury has ruled that criminal charges can be brought in connection with the death of a Florida State University student in the latest alleged "hazing", or initiation ceremony, tragedy at a US college.
Andrew Coffey, 20, died after he was found unconscious at a Pi Kappa Phi fraternity "Big Brother Night" party on 3 November.
Coffey, a 'pledge' or new student expected to profess loyalty to his fellow fraternity students in the ceremony, is believed to have passed out after drinking a whole bottle of bourbon.
An autopsy revealed that he had a blood alcohol level of .447. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .450 is described as a "fatal dose for most people".
Coffey died at the party where new pledges were being introduced into "family traditions" including drinking large quantities of liquor.
A Leon County grand jury called for criminal charges to be brought against members of the college fraternity. The jury claimed that their "reckless" behaviour and hazing rituals had resulted in Coffey's death.
The jury said that the fraternity brothers texted each other to decide what to do before calling 911 after Coffey passed out, reports USA Today.
The jury said: "A young life was senselessly extinguished. Aside from their behaviour under the influence of alcohol, in the sobering aftermath and sombre days that followed, they have repeatedly made the choice not to speak out but rather remain loyal to a culture of secrecy that cannot be allowed to continue.
"Actions have consequences and it is time that they learn this. Their behaviour during the events in question demonstrates a recklessness and lack of integrity that reflect badly on themselves, their fraternity and their university."
They added: "The grand jury finds that while Andrew Coffey's alcohol consumption was not physically forced, the acts that culminated in his death occurred within an environment of hazing.
"Willingness of the pledges to engage in life-threatening behaviour in no way absolves fraternity members of their criminal culpability if they did anything to incite or encourage the behaviour."
In a letter attached to the report, Coffey's mother, Sandy Coffey, also condemned the actions of other people at the party. "Our son died alone in a room full of people", she said. "A group of young people saw someone in crisis and didn't act."
FSU president John Thrasher suspended all fraternity and sorority activity at the school following Coffey's death.
Coffey was the latest student to die in a frat house after undergoing alleged hazing rituals. In June, Penn State student Timothy Piazza died after drinking excessive alcohol and falling down a flight of stairs during a loyalty pledging ceremony at Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
A grand jury report said that fraternity members did not call 911 until the morning of 3 February, 12 hours after Piazza's accident. Instead, they left him on a sofa in the living room.