Friday 15th December 2017,

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UPDATED: Fraternity members plead guilty, sentenced to probation for hazing death

posted by Randall
Chun Michael Deng

Chun Michael Deng

 

Fourteen former members of an Asian American fraternity were sentenced to probation Wednesday, (Nov. 29) after pleading guilty to reduced charges in the hazing death of a young man pledging to Pi Delta Psi.

They joined the 15 other young men who plead guilty Tuesday (Nov. 28).

On Tuesday, 17 defendants appeared in Monroe County Court of Common Picas in Stroudsburg, Penn. Tuesday (Nov. 28) to accept responsibility in the tragic death of Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, who died while undergoing one of the fraternity’s initiation ceremonies.
As the result of plea bargains, all 29 of them plead guilty to reduced charges and sentenced.  The harshest punishment was meted out to Andy Meng, brother of Rep. Grace Meng. As former president of the fraternity, he received a stiffer sentence of 36 months probation.

“You are better than this,” Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington told the group. “Be individuals and do the right thing going forward. Don’t get caught up in group think.”

Some of the members pleaded guilty to charges including concealing or tampering with evidence. Others admitted to simple assault and lying to police.

Most of the members were sentenced to between 12 and 18 months on probation except for Meng and another defendant. Ka-wing Yuen received 5 years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $100 fine.

The four Pi Delts who pleaded guilty in May to more serious charges will face sentencing next week. Punishment will likely include time behind bars.

Last week, the fraternity was convicted of charges including aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter but acquitted of third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, both felonies.In a ritual called the “glass ceiling” which was meant to teach the pledges of the bias they would face in society, Deng passed out after running the gauntlet of fraternity brothers who would hit, tackle or trip the pledges. The 2013 hazing of the New York’s Baruch College students occurred at a rented  home in the Pocono Mountains, about 100 miles 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 said.

The college students waited for more than an hour before driving him to a hospital, authorities said and that delay contributed to his death.

Rather than seeking help for Deng, who remained unconscious, the fraternity brothers reportedly Googled head injury symptoms and researched the cost of an ambulance before determining it would be too expensive. They allegedly called fraternity officers for advice on what to do.

Although deaths from fraternity hazings have occurred at several American colleges, prosecutors and defense lawyers said it was the first U.S. conviction of a fraternity for a death caused by hazing.
UPDATED Nov. 30 to include the second day of sentencing.

 

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