5 Students at Manhattan-Based College Face Murder Charges for Severe Hazing
Five fraternity members from Baruch College in Manhattan will be charged with murder after a hazing ritual in 2013 led to the death of a freshman at the college.
A grand jury in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, where the hazing ritual occurred, indicted 37 other members of the fraternity on an array of criminal charges, including assault and hindering apprehension. Five of the fraternity members will be charged with third-degree murder.
The murder charges stem from a fraternity hazing ritual during a rural retreat in Pennsylvania. Victim Chun Hsien Deng, known as Michael, took part in the fraternity induction hazing ritual on December 9th, 2013. He was blindfolded and forced to wear a backpack weighted with sand, then told to cross a frozen yard while fraternity brothers tackled him repeatedly. At least one fraternity member tackled Deng, then 19 years old, in a move called “spearing,” in which the victim was picked up and dropped onto the ground. After the move, Deng complained that his head hurt, but he continued to participate, until the tackling eventually knocked him out.
“The ritual was brutal,” police said in a statement on Monday, September 14th. “Deng was subjected to repeated blunt force trauma which was applied to three different organ systems of the body to include the head, torso and thighs.”
Although Deng was unconscious and probably suffering a traumatic brain injury, frat brothers reportedly delayed in seeking medical attention. “A minimum of at least two hours went by before he actually received any type of medical care,” the police statement continued. The grand jury has indicted several members of the fraternity, Pi Delta Psi, and prosecutors will file more specific charges related to the hazing injury in the next week or two.
“Too many families have been devastated as a result of fraternity hazing, with at least one student dying every year from hazing since 1970,” the Dengs said in a statement. “Fraternities and their members must be held accountable, and this step by authorities is an important one.” The family added that hazing injuries and deaths are not an accident, but are instead entirely preventable.
The Dengs have also filed a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court against the fraternity, so “other parents will be spared the loss of a precious child.” However, the family did say that in light of the criminal charges, they would amend their lawsuit to take into account the specific names of those involves in the hazing ritual that killed the 19-year-old student.