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Lawsuit accuses Wesleyan fraternity of allowing girl to be raped

Posted by Doug Saffir  March 13, 2014 12:22 AM

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A federal lawsuit filed earlier this week is accusing a fraternity at Wesleyan University of negligence that allowed a young woman to be raped in the common room of the fraternity's chapter house last May.

The Hartford Courant reported that the Xi chapter of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity is listed as a defendant along with the assailant, the chapter's social chairman, and the fraternity's national incorporation, Psi Upsilon Fraternity, Inc. Also included are several members of the fraternity that allegedly stood by and watched the rape take place.

From the Courant:

According to the complaint, in May 2013 the student was in her freshman year at the university and attended a party at the Psi Upsilon fraternity house at 242 High St. The party was "wildly out of control," fraternity pledges performed a "strip show" and many of the fraternity members and guests were "underage and extremely intoxicated," according to the complaint.

The complaint further alleges that when the student tried to leave the party, she was grabbed by a fraternity member and thrown over the leg of a couch in the house's common room. The fraternity member was naked and raped her in the common room "in the presence of numerous others," according to the complaint.

The complaint claims that because the fraternity's house is considered on campus housing, the chapter and its members are solely responsible for the well-being of anyone they invite inside. As a result, the university is not being included as a defendant.

In addition to the lawsuit, hearings conducted by the university resulted in serious disciplinary action. More from the Courant:

In a written statement, university President Michael S. Roth said that Wesleyan's internal investigation of the incident led to sanctions against the fraternity and some individual members, as well as the alleged perpetrator's expulsion.

"On behalf of the university community, I want to express our horror at this shameful assault," Roth said.

The lawsuit does not explain whether criminal charges were ever filed.

(H/T @jaredbkeller)

Reach me at douglas.saffir@globe.com. Follow me @dougsaffir

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