Friday, February 6, 2015

Another college "rape" that didn't happen

I've posted two news stories below about a rape claim at a frat house at East Carolina University.

Before you read the stories, it is important to point out the following. America's leading campus anti-rape advocate, Brett Sokolow, says that male students are often charged with sexual assault when charges are not appropriate. In "case-after-case . . . sincere victims believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not . . .." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen." He suggested that "mental health issues" play a part in these accusations.

Here is another case where a male student at a frat house was accused of rape. Thankfully, he wasn't wrongly charged in this case, but the fraternity was temporarily suspended. This time, police were brought in to investigate and they determined that no rape occurred -- but they also said that the accuser was not acting out of malice or deceit. This case isn't all that unusual. College rape allegations often involve messy and murky circumstances -- too much alcohol and too many raging hormones can be a toxic concoction. A lot of times, as Mr. Sokolow points out, it's not clear-cut, and it's not as simple as "believe the woman!"


GREENVILLE — An alleged sexual assault at a fraternity house at East Carolina University last month prompted the suspension of all fraternities there, but Greenville police concluded an investigation Wednesday, saying no assault occurred.

Police had been investigating a report of a sexual assault in the early morning hours Jan. 25 at Sigma Phi Epsilon at 505 E. Fifth St. in Greenville. The university quickly sent out an emergency alert, saying the victim had been taken to the hospital and describing a brown-haired male suspect in a plaid button-down shirt.

But late Wednesday, Greenville police issued a statement, saying the case was closed and no charges would be filed. “After careful review, it has been determined that the incident in question was consensual,” said the statement by Kristen Hunter, public information officer.

The national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization, known as SigEp, had initially suspended the ECU chapter. On Wednesday, Richmond-based SigEp released a statement saying that on Jan. 25, members of the ECU fraternity “asked two uninvited guests to leave the premises of their off-campus facility after finding the couple engaged in a sexual act.”

When the fraternity brothers realized that the description of the alleged attacker matched that of the man they had escorted from their home, they called police immediately and cooperated, the statement said.

“We are happy that we were able to assist in the investigation, but we are still shaken up by the whole ordeal,” chapter President Whit Beebe said in the statement. “We want students to feel safe when they visit our house.”

Three days after the allegation was made, ECU’s Interfraternity Council Board met with university officials and announced a self-imposed moratorium on social events for all fraternities. The moratorium, a university spokeswoman said, was not directly related to the reported assault but was meant to address “overall risk management” issues.

It was unclear whether the suspensions would be lifted after the announcement by police. The Interfraternity Council was scheduled to meet Wednesday night.

The ECU incident came months after the national spotlight was focused on the University of Virginia after a Rolling Stone article chronicled an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. The article has since been discredited, but not before it prompted the suspension of fraternities and an ongoing review of safety.

Read more here:


A woman who reported she was raped at a local fraternity house actually engaged in a consensual act, the Greenville Police Department reported Wednesday.

“After careful review, it has been determined that the incident in question was consensual,” a statement from the police department said. “The case is now considered closed, and no charges will be filed.”

On Jan. 25, an 18-year-old woman reported at 2:29 a.m. that she had been raped at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The rape allegedly occurred between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., according to the police report.

The fraternity at 505 E. Fifth St. was having a party that night and the woman and the man met at the party, according to police.

Police spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said that investigators took her report seriously and interviewed her and interviewed the man.

Hunter declined to say why the woman would have reported she was raped.

“Our investigators often receive reports from individuals who may not be sure what has happened,” Hunter said. “We take these allegations seriously, and it’s our job to investigate them thoroughly and that’s what we do.”

Drugs and alcohol were likely a factor in the incident at the fraternity, Hunter said.

The woman will not be charged with filing a false police report, Hunter said.

“We did not believe that her report was meant to be malicious or deceitful in any way,” Hunter said. “She wasn’t trying to deceive officers, and it was something we took seriously, and after talking to both parties involved, that was the conclusion we were able to reach.”

Police worked alongside the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office to conduct the investigation, Hunter said in the statement.

Hunter would not release the name of the woman Wednesday.

The fraternity’s national office suspended the chapter temporarily on Jan. 31 pending the results of the investigation by East Carolina University.

Rob Jepson, communications manager for the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said members hope information they provided to Greenville police helped the investigation.

On the night of the alleged assault, members asked two uninvited guests to leave the premises after finding the couple engaged in a sexual act, Jepson said in an email on Wednesday.

When fraternity members realized that the description of an alleged attacker matched that of the man they had escorted from their home, they immediately contacted the police, Jepson reported.

“We are happy that we were able to assist in the investigation, but we are still shaken up by the whole ordeal,” Chapter President Whit Beebe said in the email. “We want students to feel safe when they visit our house.”

The InterFraternity Council at ECU agreed to a self-imposed moratorium on all social events at their member fraternities after the incident.

Chris Stansbury, director of marketing and communications for Student Affairs, could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.