By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa (Reuters) – Four former members of a New York
college fraternity chapter face prison time when they are
sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to the most serious
charges in a freshman’s 2013 hazing death in Pennsylvania.

The fraternity itself – Pi Delta Psi at Manhattan’s Baruch
College, a unit of the City University of New York – faces up to
20 years probation and a $112,500 fine at the sentencing, in
Monroe County Court of Common Pleas in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

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 said
was the first time a U.S. fraternity was criminally convicted in
a pledge hazing death.

Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, died in December 2013 from head injuries
suffered during a mandatory hazing initiation for prospective
fraternity members called “the glass ceiling” at a rented home in
Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, about 100 miles (160 km) west of
New York City.

During the incident, Deng 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.

Deng suffered head injuries, but the college students waited for
more than an hour before driving him to a hospital, authorities

Deng, a nationally competitive handball player from the New York
City borough of Queens, was the only child of his China-born

Sheldon Wong, 25, Charles Lai, 27, Raymond Lam, 24, and Kenny
Kwan, 28, entered guilty pleas in May to felony charges of
voluntary manslaughter and hindering apprehension.

According to court documents, Wong was in charge of the pledging
activities 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
defendants to up to 27 years in prison, although state guidelines
call for a sentence of 22 to 36 months.

All told, 36 former members of Pi Delta Psi were accused in
Deng’s death and originally charged with felonies. Thirty have
pleaded to reduced misdemeanor charges and were sentenced to
probation ranging from 12 months to five years. Two defendants
had their cases continued until Jan. 10.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Steve Orlofsky)

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