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Charges

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Police have arrested four young men on charges alleging a fraternity alcohol hazing ritual led to the death of a California Polytechnic State University student from Texas.

San Luis Obispo police say the four — ages 20 to 22 — surrendered Thursday on criminal warrants in the death of 18-year-old Carson Starkey of Austin.

Starkey died in December and was found to have a blood-alcohol level between 0.39 percent and 0.44 percent.

Police say Starkey was pledging the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and had to go through a ritual of drinking a bag full of alcoholic beverages.

Two of the defendants are charged with felony hazing causing death or great bodily injury. The other two face misdemeanors.
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By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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