College fraternity banned from Pennsylvania for teen's hazing death


STROUDSBURG, Pa., Jan 8 (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania court on Monday banned a national college fraternity from operating in the state for 10 years because of the death of a student during an alcohol-fueled hazing incident in 2013.

The court also fined Pi Delta Psi $112,500 for the death of Chun "Michael" Deng, a 19-year-old freshman from New York's Baruch College, who was knocked unconscious by fraternity members who waited an hour before taking him to a hospital.

A jury in November found Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American cultural fraternity, guilty of aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter, marking what prosecutors and defense lawyers called the first time a U.S. fraternity was criminally convicted in a pledge hazing death.

"I would like to apologize on behalf of the fraternity to the Deng family," Wes Niemoczynski, lawyer for the fraternity, said. "What happened to Michael Deng was horrific."

17 PHOTOS
Brutal hazing death of Baruch freshman Micheal Deng
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Brutal hazing death of Baruch freshman Micheal Deng

Michael Deng (Photo via WNEP)

The house where Chun Hsien Deng died after a hazing ritual during a fraternity retreat in 2013 is pictured in Blakeslee, Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Pi Delta Psi member Sam Liao exits the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Pi Delta Psi member Sam Liao (C) arrives at the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Pi Delta Psi member Aaron Chen (L) exits the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Pi Delta Psi member Aaron Chen arrives at the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Pi Delta Psi member Aaron Chen (R) arrives at the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Former Pi Delta Psi President Andy Meng (L) exits the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Former Pi Delta Psi President Andy Meng (R) exits the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Former Pi Delta Psi President Andy Meng (C) arrives at the District Court in Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania, September 17, 2015. Five people were charged in the 2013 death of a freshman at New York City's Baruch College during a hazing ritual, police in Pennsylvania said on Tuesday, the first of 37 people that prosecutors may charge in the fatal incident. Members of the college's Pi Delta Psi fraternity brutally assaulted Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, during an initiation rite in Tunkhannock Township, northern Pennsylvania, in September 2013 and delayed taking him to the hospital, contributing to his death, police said. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
A security personnel walks down a flight of steps at Baruch College in New York December 12, 2013. Police are investigating the death of Chen "Michael" Deng, 19, a freshman at Baruch College in Manhattan, who suffered brain trauma after "too many" tackles during a Pi Delta Psi fraternity hazing incident over the weekend in the Poconos, a prosecutor said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION SOCIETY)
Frat and 37 members face charges in 2013 "brutal" hazing death of Baruch College freshman. http://t.co/Jdf11vvYOC http://t.co/5kwkZblQwh
5 fraternity members from Baruch College face murder charges in hazing death of freshman http://t.co/KtmVnSN4C6
37 Charged in Frat Hazing Death: http://t.co/tzKiFMvx2q http://t.co/YVGCwcLN7m
This story about a student death is just heartbreaking: http://t.co/c8AI9JvXqb
#Hazing A grand jury recommends murder charges against 5-frat brothers in the death of Baruch College freshman Michael Deng. #1010WINS
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But he said the penalty would "strangle" the Pi Delta Psi financially and that he would appeal.

Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Metzger, the lead prosecutor, dismissed the apology.

"This fraternity has not really accepted responsibility for the death of Michael Deng," Metzger said.

SEE ALSO: FDNY investigating possible sexual misconduct, hazing at Brooklyn’s ‘friendly firehouse’

Deng, 19, died in December 2013 from head injuries suffered during a hazing initiation for prospective members, or pledges, called "the glass ceiling" at a rented home in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.

Four former Pi Delta Psi members are to be sentenced for their role in Deng's death on Monday afternoon at Monroe County Court of Common Pleas in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Sheldon Wong, 25, Charles Lai, 27, Raymond Lam, 24, and Kenny Kwan, 28, pleaded guilty in May to felony charges of voluntary manslaughter and hindering apprehension.

During the incident, Deng, a nationally competitive handball player, was blindfolded, wore a 30-pound (14-kg) backpack and ran a gauntlet of fraternity members who tackled and knocked him unconscious on snow-covered ground, police said.

According to court documents, Wong was in charge of the pledging and, when the hazing went awry, Lai ran an attempted cover-up. Kwan was the last one to tackle the blindfolded Deng, while Lam "got physical" with Deng and fled before police arrived, court documents said.

Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington could sentence the four to up to 27 years in prison, although state guidelines call for 22 to 36 months.

The fraternity has two chapters in the state, an active one at Pennsylvania State University in University Park and an inactive one at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg.

More on fraternity hazing:

9 PHOTOS
Timothy Piazza -- Penn State fraternity hazing death
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Timothy Piazza -- Penn State fraternity hazing death
About the life that Timothy Piazza was creating, before his tragic death at age 19. https://t.co/ul6jqMghXV
"Gruesome" surveillance video is key part of prosecution's case in Penn State hazing death https://t.co/aQDJSipbU3 https://t.co/NpR8OM0Rup
Penn State hearing to decide whether the Timothy Piazza case goes to trial. https://t.co/kfvWy8V8FB
Penn State Board Of Trustees To Hold Public Meeting After Frat Related Death https://t.co/p3xADZT8UO #PSU #TimothyPiazza
The parents of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza who died after a hazing ritual blame his fraternity brothers for “murder”… https://t.co/1A83ckECGV
Prosecutors show PSU frat video from party where pledge died  via @PittsburghPG
The details keep getting worse... Penn State pledge ‘looked like a corpse’ before death from frat-house hazing… https://t.co/1WP793hzgM
Jonah Neuman is one of 18 people facing charges after Timothy Piazza died in February. #WATE https://t.co/9uJY7PnWZt
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In a separate case, 26 members of Pennsylvania State University's Beta Theta Pi fraternity face charges including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, hazing and furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor under 21 after the death of Timothy Piazza, 19. (Editing by Gina Cherelus, Steve Orlofsky and Susan Thomas)

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