Authorities in the Poconos are prepared to charge individuals in the death of a Baruch College student who died during a fraternity hazing last weekend. According to the Pocono Record, Chun "Michael" Deng died during a "ritual [that] calls for blindfolded pledges to carry a backpack of 20 pounds of sand and head toward another fraternity brother while other members 'prevent that from happening.'" And what's more, Monroe County law enforcement says fraternity brothers waited before calling for help, and instead Googled Deng's symptoms while disposing of fraternity items.
Deng was one of four new pledges at a rented Tunkhannock Township home where Pi Delta Psi were holding their initiation rites. Apparently, three had managed to get through "The Gauntlet" ritual (previously referred to as "Glass Ceiling"). From theNY Times:
[B] lindfolded, wearing a backpack weighted down with sand, and making his way across a frozen yard while trying to avoid tacklers, Mr. Deng had been sacked at least one too many times, law enforcement officials later said. He was unconscious. So the fraternity brothers took him inside — out of the freezing mountain air, at least. It was about 5 a.m. on Sunday, and they had been carousing all weekend: 30 or so of them, and the four pledges, all students at Baruch College in Manhattan, all in the same rental house in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. They changed his clothes, did a Google search on his symptoms and looked up hospitals nearby, said Chief Harry W. Lewis of the Pocono Mountain Regional Police.
It's believed that an hour and a half may have elapsed before they went to a hospital.
The fraternity members told police that Deng had fallen and hit his head in the backyard, but only owned up to the hazing after many hours. Lewis said, "They were evasive, and really made the initial hours of the investigation difficult. The stories that were provided us began as an innocent playful game in the yard. When it finally became evident that it was a fraternity hazing ritual, it was hours and hours and hours later."
Court papers state, "Through interviews, I also learned that while at the hospital, Charles Lai made a phone call using his cellular phone, to a male at the resident and told him to dispose of all fraternity memorabilia and items. Charles Lai admitted...that he made the phone call." Additionally, the Pocono Record reports, "Laptops, bags, Apple Macbooks, clothing and a copy of what was cryptically listed as 'Chapter 29 from moral problems torture'” were among the items police seized in their investigation."
Baruch has said that Pi Delta Psi's actions were unsanctioned and Pi Delta Psi, an "Asian-American Cultural Fraternity," has suspended its activities with new members.