Two women seek to hold N.J. university responsible in alleged rapes

Two women who say they were raped after being given spiked drinks at an unsanctioned fraternity house at New Jersey's Stockton University are seeking to hold the school partly responsible.

The women allege in federal lawsuits that Stockton knew of complaints of sexual assaults and underage drinking at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity off-campus house and failed to adequately address the problem.

The women say they were each twice assaulted by the same man —an alumnus of the school and fraternity — as freshmen in 2017. Two of the attacks allegedly occurred at a dormitory.

Their alleged attacker has been charged with invasion of privacy for allegedly posting video of one encounter, but he has not been charged with sexual assault.

The lawsuits, filed earlier this month, name the fraternity as well as their alleged attacker.

Stockton, a public university of 9,500 students about 50 miles southeast of Philadelphia, declined comment. The national Pi Kappa Phi organization didn't return messages seeking comment on the status of the fraternity, and messages left on a phone number listed to the women's alleged attacker were not returned.

No response had been filed in court by any of the defendants by Friday.

The lawsuits identify the women by their initials only. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault.

The women say the school violated its obligation under Title IX to provide a safe environment and violated their constitutional rights.

The women's attorney, Robert Fuggi Jr., said in the lawsuits that they chose to go to the school partly because it was advertised as a safe campus, reporting only four sexual assaults per year.

Stockton's website lists seven Greek organizations that have lost their affiliations with the university. The website warns students to stay away from unrecognized groups for safety reasons. It was unclear if the warning was on the school's website prior to the alleged incidents.

In each case, the women say they were first attacked after they attended fraternity parties at Pi Kappa Phi that were "invitation only" to new female students, and where they were furnished a vodka-based drink called "jungle juice."

They said they later felt they had blacked out or been drugged.

One woman said she was assaulted twice, about a week apart, in February at a campus dorm. She said after the second encounter, she found her attacker had posted three videos of her and the alleged rape on Snapchat. She said she filed a complaint with campus security and spoke to police at a hospital, leading to the invasion of privacy charge.

The other woman said she was assaulted first in October. She said she was assaulted a second time when she returned to the fraternity in November to retrieve a shirt she had lost and tried to intervene to stop what she said was the same man attempting to assault a third girl who was intoxicated.

Atlantic County prosecutors did not return messages seeking comment.

 

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