Pi Delta Psi, an Asian American fraternity, has been found guilty in the 2013 death of a student participating in the frat’s hazing rituals.
The fraternity was convicted Tuesday of five felonies and two misdemeanors in the death of Chun Hsien “Michael” Deng who died in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
The fraternity was acquitted of the two most serious charges, third-degree murder (involving a willful, wanton disregard for the potentially fatal consequences of one’s actions on someone else) and voluntary manslaughter (a heat-of-the-moment killing).
Deng, 19, who attended Baruch College in Manhattan, was pledging to Pi Delta Psi when he died during a December 2013 retreat at a rented house in the Poconos.
Blindfolded and wearing a weighted backpack, Deng was forced to walk in the backyard in the early morning hours through a gauntlet of fraternity members who allegedly pushed, shoved, and tackled him in an attempt to bring him down, according to court records.
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Deng died from his injuries after fraternity brothers waited too long to contact authorities after the 18-year old lost consciousness. It took a hour before the frat brothers brought him to a hospital. A forensic pathologist said the delay significantly contributed to his death, according to court documents.
Four frat brothers, Kenny Kwan, 28, Charles Lai, 26, Raymond Lam, 23, and Sheldon Wong, 24, have already pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter as accomplices and hindering apprehension for concealing evidence, according to the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. The four men were originally charged with murder. Their sentencing is slated for December.
With a future sentencing date being scheduled for the fraternity, the prosecution plans to seek the maximum penalty of a fine and the fraternity being banned from any Pennsylvania college campuses.
The Asian American fraternity was founded at the State University of New York’s Binghamton campus in 1994. Pi Delta Psi has 25 active chapters and five inactive colonies (aspiring chapters) on college campuses in 13 states including Pennsylvania.
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