POCONO SUMMIT, Pa. -- Police say a grand jury has recommended charges against dozens of fraternity members in the death of a New York City college freshman during a hazing ritual in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Pocono Mountain Regional Police said Monday that the grand jury recommended third-degree murder charges against the Pi Delta Psi fraternity and five students at Baruch College in the December 2013 death of 19-year-old Chun "Michael" Deng.
Thirty-two others face charges ranging from aggravated assault to hazing.
Police say Deng was blind-folded, weighted down with a 30-pound backpack and forced to run a gauntlet during what they say was a brutal fraternity ritual called "glass ceiling."
Deng was knocked unconscious, but police say the fraternity members waited an hour before taking him to the hospital with a severe brain injury.
Following Deng’s death, Baruch College permanently banned the fraternity.
“Baruch Colony has violated the values and rules of our organization, including our strict no hazing policy. As such, they shall no longer be recognized as having any association with Pi Delta Psi. Additionally, we will also revoke the individual memberships of any member found involved in this incident,” the statement read in part.
The attorney representing the family released a statement of behalf of the family:
“Today, the parents of Michael Deng applaud the actions by the police, grand jury and Monroe County District Attorneys to bring criminal charges against the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity and its members for the tragic, entirely preventable hazing death of Michael. Too many families have been devastated as a result of fraternity hazing, with at least one student dying every year from hazing since 1970. Fraternities and their members must be held accountable, and this step by authorities is an important one. Michael was a wonderful, beloved young man, and, in his honor, the family will also continue pursuing its wrongful death case against the fraternity to cause it and other fraternities to change so that other parents will be spared the loss of a precious child.”