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Krueger's Parents Leave Open Option For Civil Suit Against MIT, Fraternity

By Zareena Hussain
News Editor

While the Institutewill not face indictments in the death of Scott S. Krueger '01, that decision has not closed the door on a potential civil suit against MIT and others, the family's attorneys said.

"Today, a jury of citizens of this community has indicted what is in reality an MITdormitory for homicide," said Leo V. Boyle, attorney for the parents of Scott S. Krueger '01. "This dramatically and irreversibly changes the level and the parameters of the debate."

While an indictment against MITwould have been more helpful to the family in any civil case that may push forward against the Institute, "in the end, [the lack of a criminal indictment] doesn't insulate MIT from a civil suit," said Mark G. Perlin, a law professor at Suffolk University.

"Any educational institution who took today's events as a ringing endorsement of what they've been doing would be in denial," Boyle said. "The message of today is that the stakes are dramatically higher for a university than they were two hours ago."

Lawyer calls for apology

Krueger's family and his attorney also criticized MIT for not making a formal apology.

"Are they going to parse words, are they going to split hairs?" Boyle said, "or are they going to take responsibility?"

"No one has said, we are sorry for our conduct that led to [Scott Krueger's] death," Boyle said.

Krueger's parents, Bob and Darlene, also spoke out against the Institute.

"Parents aren't informed that [MIT has] had huge alcohol problems," said Darlene Krueger.

When Scott Krueger's parents went to the hospital to see their son after he had fallen into a coma, "the nurses told us that they get three to four" cases of alcohol poisoning a week but that "the schools try to cover them up," said to Bob Krueger.

Parents criticize MIT housing

Scott Krueger's parents also criticized the fact that all freshmen are said to be required to live on-campus in MIT's brochures to incoming students but that in reality a large number of freshman live in off-campus fraternities, sororities and independent living groups.

"They call their frats on campus,'" Darlene Krueger said. "Do you consider on-campus to be half a mile away in a different city, in a different county?"

Darlene Krueger also spoke out against the system of rush at MIT as she described her own son's experience.

When she asked her son to wait until she could see the fraternity before he accepted a bid, Scott said, "I can't. If I don't take the room, somebody else will."

When she visited the fraternity, she saw her son living in a basement room. "The place was a dive," Darlene Krueger said.

After assuring his parents that he would move in five weeks, Scott Krueger left to participate in an event with his pledge brothers.

"That was the last time I saw my son," Darlene Krueger said.

The next she heard was the fateful call from Boston.

"Do you have any idea what it's like to get a call at one in the morning from a hospital?" said Darlene Krueger, "that he was dumped in a basement puking while they went to have another drink?"

Parents explain motives

Scott Krueger's parents also explained why they are speaking out against the Institute.

"It's not about money with these people," Boyle said. "What it's about is bringing every arm of law to bear to make sure this doesn't happen again," Boyle said.

"Our goal is to wake up the parents and the children," to what is happening in colleges, Bob Krueger said.

"Please pay attention to where your son or daughter is going to college," Darlene Krueger said.

When asked about the steps MIT has taken to curb underage drinking, such as the instatement of resident advisers and the move to house all freshmen in dormitories starting in 2001, Darlene Krueger replied "shouldn't they have done that a long time ago?"

However, for Scott Krueger's parents, the indictments for hazing and manslaughter, which at maximum will result in a $4,000 fine, represent a somewhat hollow victory.

"Do I think the fine should be higher? I think the fine should be higher," Darlene Krueger said.

But she added, "You can't put a value on our son's life."

Douglas E. Heimburger contributed to the reporting of this story.