POCONO SUMMIT, Pa. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Five fraternity members, including its former national president, have been charged in the death of a Baruch College freshman during a hazing ritual in Pennsylvania, police said Tuesday.

Pocono Mountain Regional police intend to arrest suspects in waves, moving from least to most culpable, after a grand jury recommended charges for 37 people in the December 2013 death of Chun “Michael” Deng.

They said staggering the arrests will keep courts from being overwhelmed.

The first five suspects, including former Pi Delta Psi President Andy Meng, were charged with hazing, conspiracy and hindering apprehension and were making arrangements Tuesday to turn themselves in, police said.

Fraternity members at Baruch College physically abused Deng and then tried to cover it up as the 19-year-old lay dying in their rented house in Tunkhannock Township, police said.

“There’s a reason why hazing is not permitted in fraternities, because of events like this,” police Chief Chris Wagner said Tuesday.

During a ritual Wagner called “brutal,” Deng was blind-folded, weighted down with a backpack filled with 30 pounds of sand and forced to run a gauntlet during a fraternity ritual called the “glass ceiling.”

“The object of the ritual is to get through a line of brothers while fraternity members shove and tackle the pledges,” Wagner said.

He said Deng was tackled multiple times. He then began complaining of his head hurting but “was tackled again,” Wagner said.

Deng was the last of five pledges to be hazed that weekend, going through three progressively more difficult stages that lasted about 25 minutes each, Wagner said.

It was during the last stage that Deng suffered the fatal blows, including football-style tackles in which he was “speared,” the chief said.

“The overall investigation shows that he was singled out, and he was treated harsher than the other pledges,” said Wagner. He declined to say why Deng was forced to suffer the extra abuse, calling it part of the investigation.

The 19-year-old freshman fell unconscious and was carried inside the house while fraternity members called Meng, changed Deng’s clothes and did a Google search of his symptoms, police said.

“At this point, members began to hide paraphernalia and basically put the fraternity’s well-being over that of Michael Deng’s,” Wagner said.

Three fraternity members eventually took him to the hospital, where he died a day later.

A forensic pathologist determined Deng suffered repeated trauma to the head, torso and thighs, and “the forces were significant and severe,” police said in a statement.

The grand jury recommended third-degree murder charges for the fraternity itself and five people. Dozens of other fraternity members face less serious charges ranging from aggravated assault to hazing.

Doug Fierberg, an attorney representing the victim’s family, said they want accountability.

“More importantly, it’s beginning the process of holding fraternities and effecting change so that no other people are hurt or killed,” Fierberg told CBS2’s Ilana Gold.

Eileen Stevens, whose son, Chuck, died in a fraternity hazing incident in 1978, said the steps are necessary to change the culture.

Her son, a student at Alfred University, was put in a car trunk after a night of drinking.

“He didn’t have to die,” she told CBS2’s Dave Carlin. “He shouldn’t have died.

“I don’t want to see any young man spend a lot of his life behind bars, but you can’t claim a life and walk away and say it’s not your fault,” Stevens added.

The fraternity organization could be forced to pay a fine if convicted, according to Michael Rakaczewski, assistant district attorney in Monroe County.

Deng’s family released a statement saying they “applaud the actions by the police, grand jury and Monroe County District Attorneys to bring criminal charges against the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity and its members for the tragic, entirely preventable hazing death of Michael.”

“Too many families have been devastated as a result of fraternity hazing, with at least one student dying every year from hazing since 1970.  Fraternities and their members must be held accountable, and this step by authorities is an important one,” the statement said. “Michael was a wonderful, beloved young man, and, in his honor, the family will also continue pursuing its wrongful death case against the fraternity to cause it and other fraternities to change so that other parents will be spared the loss of a precious child.”

Deng’s parents are  suing the fraternity and hope to uncover all that happened to him.

The school issued a statement Tuesday saying since Deng’s “tragic death at an unsanctioned fraternity event” Baruch College has taken “strong action to ensure the safety and well-being of all students who participate in student organizations on campus.”

“Baruch immediately instituted a permanent ban of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity,” it said. “Starting in the fall of 2014, Baruch also instituted a suspension of all pledging activities for campus Greek Life organizations.”

The school said it has also taken action against those allegedly involved, saying, “We owe it to Michael and his family to hold accountable those who were responsible for the senseless death of this promising young man.”

“While we cannot comment on the disciplinary status of any individual student due to privacy requirements under federal law, Baruch conducted its own internal judicial review of students involved in this incident and brought disciplinary proceedings against all of them, except for those who voluntarily withdrew from Baruch College,” the school said.

CBS2 has also reached out to fraternity for comment, but has not heard back.

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