Kenny Kwan, Charles Lai, Raymond Lam and Sheldon Wong killed the Baruch College freshman in 2013

Four Asian American frat members have been jailed for up to two years for killing a Baruch College freshman in 2013.

SCMP reports Kenny Kwan, Charles Lai, Raymond Lam and Sheldon Wong pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, hindering apprehension and other charges connected to Michael Chun Deng’s death.

All four defendants are all Chinese Americans from Queens, New York, as was Deng.

Deng was blindfolded, forced to wear a heavy backpack and repeatedly tackled. The hazing was reportedly part of the fraternity’s Crossing Over initiation ceremony that took place in a rented home in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains in 2013.

The 19-year-old freshman was knocked unconscious and later died at a hospital.

Kwan, Lai, Lam and Wong attempted to cover up the crime whilst Deng was dying.

“Not one person out of 37 picked up a telephone and called an ambulance. I cannot wrap my head around it,” Monroe County President Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington said.

“So there’s something greater going on here, and I think it’s probably really prevalent. We see across the country these issues in fraternities.”

Patti-Worthington added that the boys had succumbed to “brainwashing” and “indoctrination”.

Kwan was sentenced to 2-24 months in county jail, whilst Lam and Wong were sentenced to 10-24 months each. Lai spent 342 days in jail as he was unable to make bail and was sentenced to time served.

Lam said he was consumed by guilt and had felt suicidal. “The guilt will never go away, and I think about Mr Deng every day,” he said.

In a statement to the court, Deng’s mother wrote, “this punishment should forever remind them of the pain and grief we will carry for the rest of our lives as the result of their misconduct.” 

“It is also our hope that the punishment may also save lives by sending a clear message to other fraternities and their members that the outrageous tradition of hazing will no longer be tolerated and must be ended once and for all.”

The Pi Delta Psi fraternity was banend from Pennsylvania for 10 years and was fined over US$110,000 for its role in Deng’s death.

“It’s the epitome of a lack of acceptance of responsibility. It’s their rituals and functions that led us here today,” Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Kim Metzger said in court.

The fraternity called itself “in part a victim,” but Patti-Worthington rejected the claim.

“I would never label the national fraternity as a ‘victim,’” said the judge.

 

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