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November 07, 2012

Ex-St. John's Dean Accused of Embezzlement Commits Suicide

A former St. John's University dean accused of embezzling $1-million from the New York City institution was found dead at her home Tuesday in an apparent suicide, Reuters and the New York Daily News report. The discovery came a day after Cecilia Chang, dean of Asian Studies at St. John's from 1982 to 2010, testified in a trial on charges of bribery, filing false tax returns, and forcing students to perform menial chores to keep their scholarships.

Emergency workers notified by Ms. Chang's son that he was unable to reach her found her hanging by a stereo cord from a ladder in her home in Queens Tuesday morning. U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson declared a mistrial in the bribery and forced-labor case. A hearing had been scheduled for Nov. 13 in the embezzlement case, in which Ms. Chang was accused of using university funds and donations for personal expenses.

Taking the stand Monday against her attorneys' advice, the 59-year-old Taiwan native acknowledged charging personal expenses to St. John's but termed it repayment for money she spent in the course of raising millions of dollars for the university.