Four Fraternity Brothers Plead Guilty for Pledge’s Death in Hazing Ritual

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STROUDSBURG -- Four members of a fraternity pleaded guilty Monday for the death of a 19-year-old pledge in the Poconos.

Chen Michael Deng died after a hazing ritual at a house in Monroe County in December of 2013.

Charles Lai said nothing as he left the Monroe County Courthouse after admitting responsibility for the death of Chen.

Lai and three of his fraternity brothers from Pi Delta Psi entered guilty pleas to felony charges of voluntary manslaughter as an accomplice and hindering apprehension by concealing evidence.

Prosecutors charged Lai, Raymond Lam, Kenny Kwan, and Sheldon Wong, along with 32 members of the fraternity from Baruch College in New York as well as the fraternity itself for Chen's death.

Chen, who was a pledge, died after a hazing ritual at a home near Long Pond in December of 2013.

At East Stroudsburg University, parents and future students say hazing needs to stop.

“It happens a lot, but it shouldn't be. Death shouldn't be happening. No one should be dying because of it,” said student Caitlyn Blake from New Jersey.

“They killed that kid, plain and simple. If you hit someone with your car and you had been drinking, you'd be going to jail,” said parent Patty Cummings from Saylorsburg. “They didn't hit someone with a car, but they did the same thing.”

This comes as a fraternity at Penn State University is facing charges after a pledge died during a hazing ritual back in February. In both cases, investigators say the brothers not only waited to get the victims help, they also tried to cover up what happened.

“It's completely wrong and disgusting. It really is. No one should ever leave someone like that,” said student Kathryn Cummings from Saylorsburg.

“What happened at Penn State is disgusting that those guys, kids left that guy laying on the ground for that many hours,” said Cummings.

The four Pi Delta Psi brothers were also facing third-degree murder charges. Those were dropped in exchange for their guilty pleas.

Sentencing is scheduled for December. If given the maximum sentence, they face 27 years in prison.

“I think they should be charged to the fullest extent. For me, it's like an eye for an eye. You take somebody's child away, they don't have them anymore,” said parent Michelle Blake from New Jersey.

The only defendant in this case facing the murder charge is the fraternity. That trial starts in November.

A trial date for the 32 other members has yet to be scheduled.


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