Fraternity hazing death sends 31 men to
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[November 28, 2017]
By David DeKok
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - Dozens of
former members of a New York fraternity will head back to a Pennsylvania
court this week to face charges in the 2013 hazing death of a Baruch
College freshman during an initiation ritual in the state's Pocono
Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, died from head injuries while pledging to
become a member of Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American cultural fraternity
at Baruch in Manhattan.
Sixteen former fraternity members were due to appear on Tuesday in
Monroe County Court of Common Pleas in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, with
another 15 scheduled there for Wednesday. Four other young men linked to
the case pleaded guilty in May to being accomplices to voluntary
manslaughter and other charges.
Last week, Pi Delta Psi itself was convicted of charges including
aggravated assault, a felony, and involuntary manslaughter, a
misdemeanor, but was acquitted of third-degree murder and voluntary
manslaughter, both felonies. Prosecutors and defense lawyers said it was
the first U.S. conviction of a fraternity in a pledge hazing death.
Deng died after being injured in a ritual known as the "glass ceiling"
at a home the fraternity rented in the Poconos, about 100 miles (155 km)
west of New York City.
During the incident, Deng was blindfolded, wore a 30-pound (14 kg)
backpack and ran a gauntlet of fraternity members who tackled and
knocked him down on the snow-covered ground in December 2013, police
The college students waited for more than an hour before driving him to
a hospital, authorities said.
Deng, a nationally competitive handball player from the New York borough
of Queens, was the only child of his China-born parents.
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The house where Chun Hsien Deng died after a hazing ritual during a
fraternity retreat in 2013 is pictured in Blakeslee, Pennsylvania,
September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a
freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual,
police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that
prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the
college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael"
Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township,
northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to
the hospital, contributing to his death, police said.
Among those defendants due in court on Wednesday is Andy Meng,
brother of U.S. Representative Grace Meng of New York.
Deng's death and others like it have led to sharp criticism of the
fraternity and sorority system in U.S. universities, where
prospective members often must endure brutal rituals to gain
admission into the social organizations. At Pennsylvania State
University in February, student Timothy Piazza died after an
alcohol-fueled pledging ordeal.
In the Baruch case, Queens, New York, residents Sheldon Wong, 25,
Charles Lai, 26, Kenny Kwan, 28, and Raymond Lam, 23, pleaded guilty
in May and are due to be sentenced on Dec. 4 by Judge Margherita
They could face up to 27 years in prison, although state guidelines
call for 22 to 36 months.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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