Grace Meng’s brother charged in connection with hazing death
Five members of a fraternity at Baruch College in New York City, including the brother of New York Congresswoman Grace Meng, were charged Tuesday with hazing, conspiracy and hindering apprehension in connection with the 2013 death of Chun “Michael’’ Deng during a hazing ritual in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Police said Tuesday they are arresting suspects in waves, moving from least to most culpable, after a grand jury recommended on Monday charges for 37 people in Deng’s death. Five other members of the fraternity will be charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, hindering apprehension, and criminal conspiracy, officials said.
Authorities said members of Pi Delta Psi fraternity, a national Asian-American fraternity reached out to Andy Meng, former Pi Delta Psi national president, while Deng was unconscious at the hazing retreat in the Poconos about 100 miles from the school’s Manhattan campus, and that Meng encouraged them to hide items related to the fraternity.
Meng, 30, of Bayside, Queens is facing four felony counts of destroying evidence and providing false information to law enforcement officials investigating the case in the Poconos, according to officials.
A lawyer for Meng said his client was not in Pennsylvania at the time of the hazing in December 2013 and “had no role in his medical treatment and did not impede or obstruct the investigation into his death.”
It took nearly two years to begin charging members of the fraternity because students misled them and tried to cover it up, authorities said on Tuesday.
At a news conference in Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, Michael Rakaczewski, an assistant district attorney, described the lengthy investigation into Deng’s death with dozens of interviews to reconstruct what happened and to determine the level of culpability of the people who were there or might have otherwise been involved, according to The New York Times. “That’s part of why this investigation took so long,” he said. “We want to make sure it was a thorough investigation.”
Deng was fatally injured during a ritual known as the “glass ceiling” at a home in the Poconos 100 miles from the school’s campus, which was rented by about 30 of his would-be Pi Delta Psi frat brothers. He was repeatedly hit while blindfolded and lugging 20 pounds of sand in a knapsack, and knocked unconscious, police said..
Deng was the last of several pledges to be hazed that weekend, going through three progressively more difficult stages that lasted about 25 minutes each, Police Chief Chris Wagner said at the news conference.
It was during the last stage that Deng suffered the fatal blows, including footballstyle tackles in which he was “speared,” he said.
“The overall investigation shows that he was singled out and he was treated harsher than the other pledges,” Wagner said. He declined to say why Deng was forced to suffer the extra abuse, calling it part of the investigation.
Deng fell unconscious and was carried inside the house while fraternity members called Meng. Fraternity members then waited an hour to take Deng to the hospital, Wagner said. “At this point, members began to hide paraphernalia and basically put the fraternity’s well-being over that of Deng’s,” he said.
Three fraternity members eventually took Deng to a hospital, where he died a day later.
That’s part of why this investigation took so long. We want to make sure it was a thorough investigation.”