4 ex-fraternity members get jail in pledge’s hazing death

STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Four New York City men were given jail sentences Monday in the death of a 19-year-old fraternity pledge during a 2013 hazing ritual in Pennsylvania, with a judge saying she believes they succumbed to “brainwashing” and “indoctrination” that is rampant at fraternities around the nation.

Baruch College freshman Chun “Michael” Deng was blindfolded, forced to wear a heavy backpack and then repeatedly tackled as part of the fraternity’s Crossing Over initiation ceremony. He was knocked unconscious and later died at a hospital.

Police charged 37 people with crimes ranging from aggravated assault to hazing to third-degree murder.

“Not one person out of 37 picked up a telephone and called an ambulance. I cannot wrap my head around it,” Monroe County President Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington said. “So there’s something greater going on here, and I think it’s probably really prevalent. We see across the country these issues in fraternities.”

The four defendants sentenced Monday, Kenny Kwan, Charles Lai, Raymond Lam and Sheldon Wong, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, hindering apprehension and other charges.

Kwan got 12 to 24 months in county jail. Lam and Wong were sentenced to 10 to 24 months each. Lai, who spent 342 days in jail after he was unable to make bail, was sentenced to time served.

All four defendants apologized, a few of them tearfully.

Lam was the most emotional, saying he has been consumed by guilt. He said he has attempted to kill himself.

“The guilt will never go away, and I think about Mr. Deng every day,” he said.

In a statement to the court, Deng’s mother wrote about the anguish of losing her only son and demanded a sentence that would send a message about hazing.

“This punishment should forever remind them of the pain and grief we will carry for the rest of our lives as the result of their misconduct,” Deng wrote. “It is also our hope that the punishment may also save lives by sending a clear message to other fraternities and their members that the outrageous tradition of hazing will no longer be tolerated and must be ended once and for all.”

Earlier Monday, the Pi Delta Psi fraternity was banned from Pennsylvania for 10 years and was ordered to pay a fine of more than $110,000 for its role in Deng’s death.

The judge and a prosecutor slammed Pi Delta Psi for calling itself a victim of rogue fraternity members, saying the fraternity tolerated and even encouraged hazing for years.

“It’s the epitome of a lack of acceptance of responsibility. It’s their rituals and functions that led us here today,” Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Kim Metzger said in court.

Pi Delta Psi has 25 chapters in 11 states, including one at Penn State University that will now have to be disbanded.

In a written statement, Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American cultural fraternity founded in 1994, said its now-disbanded Baruch College chapter brought “shame and dishonour” to the national fraternity.

Pi Delta Psi’s attorney, Wes Niemoczynski, argued that Pi Delta Psi had developed a “no excuses” hazing policy before Deng’s death but said the policy worked on the “honour system” and proved to be inadequate.

The fraternity’s initiation rituals “involved some physicality, but they certainly did not involve the level of physicality, the level of inhumanity and the depravity of the individuals who are also coming before the court,” he said.

The defendants sentenced Monday faced the most serious charges. Dozens of other defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to probation.

 

File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Kenny Kwan, center, leaves the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg, Pa. Kwan is one of four men from the New York City borough of Queens who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2013 death of Chun “Michael” Deng, a fraternity pledge from the Baruch College campus of the City University of New York, at a rented house in the Pocono Mountains.

Just Posted

Town of Sylvan Lake takes over provincial park

Provincial government announced official transfer of park to town on Thursday

Red Deer Lowe’s welcomes shoppers

Grand opening giveaways all weekend

Olds father charged for alleged sexual offences on child

Child porn and sexual assault among charges

Nordegg gas station broken into

RCMP says thousands of dollars worth of goods taken in Tuesday break-in

Red Deer man says more cardiac care needed here

Ryan Gillies spent several extra days in hospital waiting to get a stent in Edmonton

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month