Kathleen Russell is suing the USC chapter of Phi Kappa Psi for negligence with regards to drinking, partying and pledge hazing

By Karen Mizoguchi
October 31, 2018 09:58 PM
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Alasdair-Russell1
Credit: Alasdair Russell/Instagram

A fraternity at the University of Southern California is reportedly facing a lawsuit from a grieving mother who claims her son killed himself after pledging.

Kathleen Russell is suing the USC chapter of Phi Kappa Psi for negligence with regard to drinking, partying and pledge hazing that allegedly resulted in the 19-year-old’s April 2017 death, according to the lawsuit obtained by TMZ on Tuesday.

Russell, 55, claims members of Phi Kappa Psi “hazed and forced her son to drink in excess to the point of passing out” at an October 2016 party held in the fraternity house. Alasdair allegedly lost consciousness after falling off a platform and hit his head.

In her lawsuit, Russell claims fraternity members discouraged Alasdair from seeking medical attention “out of fear it would expose PKP Local’s conduct, including but not limited to supplying alcohol to minors and engaging in hazing activities.”

TMZ also reported that one day after the incident, Alasdair complained of concussion-like symptoms, including head pain, vomiting, blurry vision and wooziness. Russell alleges fraternity members gave her son Adderall and cocaine.

Over the course of months following the incident, Russell claims Alasdair’s “personality changed, he dropped out of school in January 2017, and he ended being involuntarily committed.” On April 1, 2017, he was found dead in Boca Raton, Florida, where his mother moved in 2016.

At the time of the incident, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said in a statement there was an investigation into Alasdair’s death after his body was found at a property overlooking the ocean, 40 miles north of Miami.

Representatives from the University of Southern California and Phi Kappa Psi did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Credit: Gap

Alasdair, who was from the village of Shipbourne in Kent, England, appeared in print and TV ads, including a Gap campaign alongside Naomi Campbell, Rumer Willis and Evan Ross.

“On Saturday April 1st due to tragic circumstances my family lost 19-year-old Alasdair. He was funny, smart and beautiful and meant great deal to anyone who knew him,” his family said in a JustGiving fund set up following his death.

In an April 2017 interview with The Times, Russell described her son as a “dreamer,” adding that “the driving force in his life was to climb Everest. He was very artistic and loved the beautiful views.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.