Another 14 men get probation in
fraternity hazing death in Pennsylvania
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[November 30, 2017]
By David DeKok
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - Fourteen more
former fraternity members pleaded guilty to reduced charges and were
sentenced to probation on Wednesday for the 2013 hazing death of a New
York college freshman, a day after 15 men entered similar plea bargains
in the case.
Altogether, 36 former members of Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American
cultural fraternity at Baruch College in Manhattan, were charged in the
death of Chun "Michael" Deng, 19.
Deng died from head injuries suffered during a fraternity hazing
initiation on Dec. 8, 2013, at a rented home in the Pocono Mountains in
On Wednesday, 14 defendants pleaded guilty in Monroe County Court of
Common Pleas in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, to misdemeanor charges
including hindering apprehension, simple assault, hazing and conspiracy,
said Assistant Monroe County District Attorney Kimberly Metzger.
Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington sentenced all 14 to probation, with
former national fraternity president Andy Meng given the harshest
punishment of 36 months probation. Meng is the brother of U.S.
Representative Grace Meng of Queens, New York.
"I thought it should have been better," said Meng's defense lawyer,
Michael Ventrella. "But you take a risk in going to trial and possibly
getting a much worse sentence. They used him as sort of a scapegoat."
Robert Munley, an attorney for defendant Steven Chen, who was given 18
months of probation, said: "I thought it was an appropriate outcome."
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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. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo
In all of the plea bargains reached on Tuesday and Wednesday, the
defendants pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, reduced from
felony crimes, such as hindering apprehension.
The toughest sentence in the case so far was given to fellow
fraternity member, Ka-Wing Yuen, who pleaded guilty to similar
offenses last January and was sentenced to five years of probation,
100 hours of community service, and a $100 fine. Yuen waited until
the second day of his trial to plead guilty.
Four other defendants face prison time when they are sentenced on
Monday after pleading guilty to felony charges of voluntary
manslaughter and hindering apprehension. State sentencing guidelines
recommend 22 to 36 months behind bars.
The national fraternity faces fines and suspension from operating in
Pennsylvania at a January sentencing. Prosecutors and defense
lawyers said it was the first U.S. fraternity to be convicted in a
pledge hazing death.
(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Barbara Goldberg; editing
by Andrew Hay and G Crosse)
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