Fraternity Found Guilty in 2013 Hazing Death of Baruch College Pledge
The organization was found guilty of five felonies and two misdemeanors after a pledge died from a traumatic brain injury.
A national fraternity has been found guilty by a jury on multiple charges in connection with the 2013 hazing death of a pledge.
Pi Delta Psi Inc. was convicted on Tuesday of five felonies and two misdemeanors, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, after Baruch College freshman Chun “Michael” Deng died after a December 2013 retreat. The organization was also found guilty of hindering apprehension and conspiracy.
The jury acquitted the fraternity on charges of third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter following a two-and-a-half hour deliberation, reports NBC News.
Court records say the fraternity rented a house in the Poconos, which is located 96 miles west of the New York City school, for a pledge retreat.
During a hazing ritual known as the “glass ceiling”, Deng was blindfolded and wore a weighted backpack as he walked through a line of fraternity members who pushed and tackled him to the ground.
Deng fell multiple times, suffering blows to his body and head. Witnesses say Deng was subjected to the most violence because he fought back, according to SCMP.
Deng died from complications of a traumatic brain injury the following day. A forensic pathologist says a delay in treatment also contributed to his death.
Court records indicate fraternity members changed Deng’s clothes and searched online for information regarding his symptoms before driving him to a hospital an hour later.
Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Metzger says the conviction should send a message to fraternities across the country.
“They cannot haze. They cannot break the law. They cannot engage in these practices that can and did result in the death of college student.” says Metzger.
No sentencing date has been set but the district attorney’s office says it will seek the maximum possible sentence on each charge.
Thirty-seven brothers who were present at the time of Chen’s death were also charged separately.
“We’ll be having conferences on the remaining defendants. Those conferences may include some pleas and dispositions on those cases. Otherwise, anyone who is willing to go forward and ask for a trial, they’ll be scheduled for their trial,” says Metzger.
In January, Ka-Wing Yuen, 25, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to hinder apprehension by evidence tampering and conspiracy to commit hazing. He was given five years’ probation, ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine.
In May, four members pleaded guilty to manslaughter as accomplices and hindering apprehension. Kenny Kwan, 28, Charles Lai, 26, Raymond Lam, 23, and Sheldon Wong, 24, are expected to be sentenced in early December. All men could face 22 to 36 months in prison.
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