37 Pi Delta Psi Fraternity Members Face Charges in the Death of Baruch College Freshman Michael Deng
Michael Deng died after suffering major brain trauma during a hazing ritual
Nearly 40 fraternity brothers have been charged in the hazing death of a freshman at a New York City college, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.
Michael Deng, 19, died in December 2013 during a trip to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains with the Baruch College chapter of Pi Delta Psi.
On that trip, he and other pledges were blindfolded and forced to carry bags filled with sand while fraternity brothers tackled them repeatedly as part of a hazing ritual.
“The ritual was brutal,” police said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
At one point, Deng fell back and hit his head, blacking out, according to the statement. But instead of calling authorities, the brothers contacted the fraternity national president, Andy Meng, who allegedly advised them to hide all Pi Delta Psi-related paraphernalia.
According to police, the delay in contacting authorities “significantly contributed” to Deng’s death. “A minimum of at least two hours went by before he actually received any type of medical care,” the police statement said. He was eventually driven to a hospital early the next morning, where he later died after suffering major brain trauma.
Five of the fraternity members are charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, while the other 32 face charges ranging from aggravated assault to criminal conspiracy, police said.
Deng’s parents “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,” Douglas Fierberg, the family’s attorney, said in a statement to PEOPLE.
• Reporting by GREG HANLON
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