Former St. John’s University Dean Cecilia Chang, who faced accusations of stealing more than $1 million from the school and enslaving foreign scholarship students, was found dead of apparent suicide in her Jamaica Estates home, according to reports.
The disgraced ex-dean reportedly took her own life a day after taking the stand, essentially admitting to allegations she used her position to recruit foreign students and demanded they do chores around her house under the threat of expulsion. She tried to also explain away accusations of funneling over $1 million from the school, claiming personal financial losses during the fundraising process.
She also admitted to lying to federal investigators, claiming she was intoxicated during the conversation.
Her lawyers tried reaching Chang, 59, on Tuesday morning. They turned to her son after several failed tries, who contacted authorities. Officers entered the home around 7:30 a.m. to reportedly discover Chang tried committing suicide by slashing her wrists and using gas from a fireplace before finally hanging herself.
Chang also reportedly left a note in Chinese, which was still being translated as of writing.
Brooklyn federal judge Sterling Johnson declared a mistrial as a result of the discovery, calling her death a “Shakespearean tragedy.”
The suicide compounds what was a burgeoning and bizarre tale. The Daily News reported earlier in the week that Chang was a prime suspect in the murder of her first husband, Ruey Fung Tsai.