5 charged, 37 to face counts in Baruch College hazing death

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TUNKHANNOCK TOWNSHIP, Penn. — Police in Pennsylvania said they plan to charge 37 fraternity brothers with murder, assault or for covering up the death of a Baruch College fraternity pledge.

Among those charged today is Andy Meng, the former national president of Pi Delta Psi Fraternity and brother of New York Congresswoman Grace Meng. He is facing conspiracy and hazing charges, along with Aaron Chen, Alan Wong, Sam Laio and Thomas Liu.

Police say that roughly 25 Pi Delta Psi brothers rented a house in December of 2013 in the snowy Pocono Mountains to host initiation weekend. The Baruch students allegedly planned to haze 4 new recruits, according to police. Investigators believe they blindfolded the pledges and strapped backpacks to them that were weighed down by sand bags. Then the “glass ceiling” ritual began, said police.

“Fraternity members would take turns tackling,” stated Chief Chris Wagner of the Pocono Mountain Regional Police at a press conference on Tuesday.

Investigators believe 19-year-old pledge Michael Deng was hit the hardest that night.

“It was noted that Deng was having trouble breathing and that he was in physical distress. Contact was then made with the national fraternity. At this point, members began to hide paraphernalia and basically put the fraternity’s well being over that of Michael Deng,” explained Chief Wagner.

A forensic doctor determined that the brothers waited upwards of one-to-two hours before getting Deng to a hospital.

According to a grand jury document, fraternity brother Kenny Kwan told police that Deng: “was not cooperating the way that he should have and he got the ‘Bros’ mad,” Kwan allegedly added that, “no one called for an ambulance because someone looked it up and the bill/cost was too high.”

Several brothers drove Deng to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause was determined to be severe head trauma. Investigators believe that the national fraternity directed a cover up.

“They lied to the police, they tried to hide evidence and a lot of that was based on trying to cover up and hide the fraternity’s involvement in this case,” said Michael Rakaczewski, an Assistant District Attorney in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

Because so many are expected to be charged in connection to Deng’s death, officials at today’s press conference stated that they plan to charge the young men in phases. They explained that those accused of a cover up and hazing will be charged first, while those facing additional charges of murder or assault will follow.

“This young man’s death was a terrible tragedy and our deepest condolences and prayers continue to go out to his family and friends,” said New York Congresswoman Grace Meng, when contacted by PIX11 about her brother’s alleged involvement, she added: “I love my brother very much and as his sister, I’ll be here for him as he goes through the legal process.”

Andy Meng and the other four men charged today are expected to make their first court appearance in Pennsylvania on Thursday.

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