Grace Meng’s brother charged in con­nec­tion with haz­ing death

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

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.”

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