Lawsuit Alleges Negligence and Premises Liability Claims Against University and Fraternity for 2010 Sexual Assault: Doe v. Beta Theta Pi Fraternity et al


800px-Wesleyan_University_-_College_Row_04.jpgA former student at Wesleyan University has filed a lawsuit against the school and a fraternity arising from a sexual assault that occurred at the fraternity house in 2010. The lawsuit, Doe v. Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, et al, alleges that the defendants breached a duty to protect her from harm in the actual sexual assault, in her efforts to seek assistance, and in the harassment she endured after reporting the incident. It asserts causes of action for general negligence, premises liability, and violations of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, began attending Wesleyan University in the fall of 2010. She was sexually assaulted at a Halloween party on October 30, 2010 at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house. She claims that she could not officially report the assault until November 1 because the campus health services office was closed on October 31. She also claims that she reported the assault to a resident assistant in her dorm, but that the RA did not relay that report to police or campus officials. School officials, once she was able to report the rape, allegedly advised her to go to the hospital, but did not offer her any support or services.

Her assailant was a guest at the party but was not a Wesleyan student. He pleaded no contest to third-degree assault and first-degree unlawful restraint, and is reportedly serving a fifteen-month prison sentence. The fraternity house had a reputation on the Wesleyan Campus as the “Rape Factory,” and the lawsuit claims that the fraternity had a history of sexual misconduct. School officials had warned the student body in March 2010 to stay away from the fraternity house, according to the plaintiff’s complaint, but she never received the warning because she was not a student at the time. After Jane Doe and another student reported rapes at the Beta house over Halloween weekend 2010, the school issued another warning and modified its rules seemingly to prohibit students from attending parties off campus.