Liu, Estate of Chun “Michael” Deng vs. Pi Delta Psi Fraternity and Individual Defendants

Location: Poconos, PA

Michael Deng, a freshman at Baruch College in Manhattan, was pledging to Pi Delta Psi. He died during a December 2013 fraternity retreat in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, during which he was hazed as part of a violent ritual known as the “glass ceiling.”

Deng was a freshman when he traveled to a rented house in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains for the Asian American fraternity’s “crossing over” weekend, according to a criminal complaint.

It was there that Deng ultimately suffered and died from a traumatic brain injury while participating in “the glass ceiling,” a ritual that required pledges to run through a line of fraternity brothers who shoved, pushed, and tackled the aspiring members to the ground.

At some point, Deng, who was blindfolded and wearing a weighted backpack, fell, struck his head, and was immediately unconscious, according to police. Some fraternity members placed Deng by a fire while others searched the internet for his symptoms and tried to wake the pledge.

Meanwhile, the criminal complaint said, other fraternity members were told by a member and the national fraternity president to “protect the fraternity and hide all the memorabilia” from police – including clothes, fraternity paddles, banners, and signs. They were also instructed to conceal cellphones, marijuana and mushrooms, the complaint said.

Deng arrived at a nearby hospital for treatment 2 hours after he was injured – a delay that a forensic pathologist concluded “significantly contributed to the death of Mr. Deng,” the complaint said.

Deng’s death was ruled a homicide.

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