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Fox analysis of Baruch convictions for Kenny Kwan, Raymond Lam, Charles Lai and Sheldon Wong

Fox on hazing convictions http://fox43.com/2018/01/09/fraternity-banned-from-pennsylvania-for-pledges-hazing-death/

 

Excerpt

Kenny Kwan, Raymond Lam, Charles Lai and Sheldon Wong were also sentenced Monday for their involvement. Kwan was sentenced to 12 to 24 months in prison, Lam and Wong received 10 to 24 months, and Lai received 342 days to 24 months.

WNEP reported Lai received time served for his sentence. Each defendant will have seven years probation following their time in prison.

In a victim impact statement, Deng’s mother said her son’s death feels “like there’s a cat clawing and scratching at my heart.”

“Since he left,” Mary Liu Deng wrote, “the lines between real life and a dream are blurred.” She described her son as a “kind, generous, loving person,” even when he was a child.

“Now Michael is gone and I cannot understand why,” she wrote. “Why would other young men like Michael not value his life like he did theirs? Why would they tackle him and not take care of him? Why did they do this to him?”

“Based on the verdict, I think it’s an appropriate sentence,” Wes Niemoczysnki, an attorney for Pi Delta Psi, told WNEP, adding that the fraternity will appeal the verdict.

“There can be no question that the death of Michael Deng was tragic,” said Todd Greenberg, an attorney for Lam, on Sunday.

“To a lesser extent it’s also a tragedy for Mr. Lam and the other young men. They never intended for this to happen,” he said, adding Lam had been “guilt ridden for his conduct since the day it happened.”

An attorney for Wong told CNN on Sunday, “Sheldon remains, and will always be, deeply saddened and devastated by Michael Deng’s death.”

Lawyers for the two other individuals could not be reached for comment.

Courts taking harder look at hazing cases

Some experts believe the prosecution and subsequent outcome of the Deng case is a signal that courts are taking a tougher stance on hazing deaths than they have in the past.

Hank Nuwer, a professor at Franklin College in Indiana and a journalist who has been writing about and tracking hazing deaths for decades, described the fraternity’s sentence as “groundbreaking.”

“I think it’s one of the toughest ever,” he told CNN on Monday.

“It’s sending a definite message,” he continued. “It’s sending a message that (national fraternities) are considered — by this court and by the judge — to be accountable when one of their pledges are killed.”

Nuwer previously said the verdict against Pi Delta Psi and the court’s handling of the case showed “huge changes” from when he first started tracking hazing deaths and the criminal proceedings around them in the 1970s.

“Judges are taking it more seriously,” Nuwer said Sunday, adding that lawyers who didn’t know how to bring a case against fraternities in the past now have greater understanding of how to handle such cases.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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