Five members of Baruch College's now-banned Pi Delta Psi fraternity could face up to 20 years in prison over a pledge's death during a hazing ritual almost two years ago in rural Pennsylvania. Following through with recommendations from a grand jury in Monroe County, prosecutors say they will file third-degree murder charges. Police allege Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, was blindfolded, weighed down with a bag of sand, and told to walk toward a voice as other frat members tried to tackle him during an outdoor ritual known as "glass ceiling." At one point, Deng complained that his head hurt after he'd been lifted and dropped on the ground, but he continued until he was knocked unconscious, reports the New York Times. He died later at a hospital. Thirty-two others face charges including aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, and hazing, reports CBS New York.
Before Deng was driven 30 minutes to a hospital, frat members moved him inside, changed his clothes, and researched his symptoms online, police say. They also called their national fraternity president, who reportedly told them to hide all evidence they were in a frat. "A minimum of at least two hours went by before he actually received any type of medical care," a police chief said after the incident, per CNN. A forensic pathologist found Deng died from multiple traumatic injuries, including a brain injury, and delayed medical care which led to neurogenic shock. Deng's parents say they "applaud" the charges, calling Deng's death "entirely preventable." They add they'll continue pursuing a wrongful-death suit in the hope of ending pledging altogether. "If there was no pledging process, Michael would not be dead," their lawyer says.