5 From Baruch College Face Murder Charges in 2013 Fraternity Hazing
By RICK ROJAS and ASHLEY SOUTHALL SEPT. 14, 2015
Five fraternity members from Baruch College in Manhattan will face murder charges in Pennsylvania for their involvement in the death of a freshman who was hazed during a rural retreat in 2013, officials said on Monday.
A grand jury in Monroe County, Pa., recently recommended that five people face third-degree murder charges and that a total of 37 would face a range of criminal charges, including assault, hindering apprehension and hazing in Chun Hsien Deng’s death.
The authorities said Mr. Deng, 19, known as Michael, died on Dec. 9, 2013, after he was blindfolded and made to wear a backpack weighted with sand while trying to make his way across a frozen yard as members of the fraternity, Pi Delta Psi, tried to tackle him. During at least one tackle, he was lifted up and dropped on the ground in a move known as spearing, according to the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department. He complained his head hurt but continued participating and was eventually knocked out, the police said in a news release.
After Mr. Deng was knocked unconscious, the authorities said the fraternity members delayed in seeking medical help....
After he was seriously injured and unconscious, fraternity members carried him inside the house, where they contacted a national fraternity official, who told them to hide fraternity items, the police said. Some members left the house, while others changed his clothes and conducted searches to diagnose his symptoms.
At some point, it was reported that Mr. Deng was having trouble breathing, the police said. Three fraternity members put him in a car and drove him to a hospital a half-hour away. By the time he arrived, he was unable to be revived. He died the next morning of severe trauma to the head, officials said....
Defiant Baruch Fraternity Pledge Fought Back in Fatal Hazing, Report Says
By RICK ROJAS and BENJAMIN MUELLERSEPT. 15, 2015
POCONO SUMMIT, Pa. — The fraternity brothers decided that Chun Hsien Deng had a bad attitude.
Like three other Pi Delta Psi fraternity pledges who went before him on a cold December morning in 2013, Mr. Deng was forced to run across a frozen yard through a knot of his fraternity brothers, while he wore a blindfold and a backpack weighted down with 20 to 30 pounds of sand.
The gantlet, called the Glass Ceiling, symbolized their burden as Asian-Americans trying to break into the mainstream. The backpack stood for the weight of their fraternity bonds, one member told the police, according to a grand jury report.
Mr. Deng, a freshman at Baruch College whose parents emigrated from China, did not fall into line.
He fought back, kicking one of the men lined up to tackle him, a fraternity brother told investigators. A second told the police he did not say the things he was supposed to, adding, “He got the ‘Bros’ mad.”
So the brothers hit harder.
One ran at Mr. Deng from 15 feet away and plowed into him with his head lowered, in a move known as the spear, student witnesses said. Others pushed him to the ground, the force of each blow amplified by the weight on Mr. Deng’s back.
After they were done, Mr. Deng was dying from brain and bodily injuries, a prefinals weekend retreat had turned into the scene of a murder investigation, and his fellow pledges, big brothers and fraternity leaders were its primary suspects.
Prosecutors in Pennsylvania said this week that they intended to charge five people with third-degree murder and 32 others with a range of counts, including assault, hindering apprehension and hazing in the death of Mr. Deng, known as Michael, on Dec. 9, 2013....
They reached out to the fraternity’s national president at the time, Andy Meng, who told them by phone to hide everything showing the group’s symbol, according to the grand jury report. One member told the police that “the protocol is to first put away fraternity letters, paddles, banners etc.,” to shield the organization.
The brothers grew nervous, but not nervous enough to call an ambulance.
“Kwan stated no one called for an ambulance because someone looked it up and the bill/cost was too high,” the grand jury report says, citing the account of Kenny Kwan, who prosecutors say will be charged with murder in the tackling on Mr. Deng that started with a 15-foot running head start....
It was an hour before three members took him to the hospital. He was mumbling, shivering and snoring, as if he had phlegm stuck in his throat.
There, doctors found constellations of bruises spread across his head, cheeks, back and thighs. His head injuries were so severe that a doctor determined they would have required “hundreds of pounds of impulsive loads.” He also had traumatic asphyxia, likely from hits or tackles magnified by his backpack’s heavy load....
Then it came time for the authorities to determine responsibility But some of the members “lied to the police, they hid and tried to hide evidence, and a lot of that was based on trying to cover up and hide the fraternity’s involvement in the case,” Michael Rakaczewski, an assistant district attorney in Monroe County, Pa., said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Prosecutors decided to pursue a grand jury investigation, they said, because the grand jury had subpoena power and could require members of the fraternity to testify....
Prosecutors also said they would charge the fraternity with murder, saying that would allow them to hold the organization responsible financially....