Police: Charges likely after fraternity pledge's death
Updated On: Dec 13 2013 01:47:55 PM CST
Disturbing new details emerged Thursday about the fraternity ritual that officials say led to the death of a college freshman.
Chun Michael Deng was blindfolded and forced to run a gauntlet, officials said.
He ended up unconscious and unresponsive, but police said his fraternity brothers didn't take him to the emergency room right away. They waited two hours before taking him to the hospital.
Monroe County officials said criminal charges are likely to be filed in the death of the New York City college freshman.
They said the dangerous ritual, apparently called Glass Ceiling, involved blindfolds and a weighted backpack. During the ritual, Deng, 19, was severely injured and became unresponsive.
"They referred to it as different things. They called it the g, the gauntlet, but it was the analogy that represents the glass ceiling," said Chief Harry Lewis, Pocono Mountain Regional Police Dept.
Investigators said it was injuries from that ritual that ended Deng's life.
The Baruch College freshman was pledging the Pi Delta Psi fraternity. About 30 brothers had rented a house in Tunkhannock Twp., Monroe Co., for the weekend.
Police said Deng and three other pledges were required to take part in the glass ceiling ritual in the yard of the house early Sunday morning.
"That was more or less a gauntlet type where they were blindfolded, required to wear weighted backpacks and get from one point to another point of the yard in the middle of the night," Lewis said. "It took about two hours before he was given any medical attention whatsoever."
Deng died the next day. Investigators said the probe into his death is far from complete, but charges are likely.
"The people that were present and participated in this ritual are the obvious ones that we're looking in to see if they would be charged with any criminal offenses," Lewis said.
Authorities don't believe drugs and alcohol played a part in this death. According to court documents, the Pi Delta Psi brothers, who drove Deng to the hospital initially lied about what happened saying Deng fell while wrestling.
Police said had he been taken to the hospital sooner he would have been better off.
Baruch College said it had no knowledge of that pledge event and has suspended all of the fraternity's rights and privileges at the school.
The national chapter of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity has also released a statement which said that unsanctioned event was strictly prohibited by the organization, and it is immediately suspending all new member education nationwide until further notice.
The fraternity also said it will be conducting a full investigation of the incident.
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