Text by Kelly Glista, Hartford Courant; video by Angelica Spanos, FOX CT
MIDDLETOWN — A Wesleyan University student filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday against the Psi Upsilon fraternity and its Wesleyan chapter, alleging that their negligence allowed her to be raped in the common room of the fraternity house during a party last May.
The lawsuit names Psi Upsilon Fraternity Inc., its Xi Chapter, the former social chairman of the fraternity and the alleged assailant, as well as several unnamed fraternity members, as defendants. The complaint filed Tuesday also demands a jury trial.
Wesleyan University, which expelled the alleged assailant after disciplinary proceedings according to the complaint, is not named as a defendant.
The lawsuit claims that because the fraternity house is on campus and is qualified by the university as “program housing,” the organization is responsible for managing their activities to keep residents and guests safe.
According to the complaint, under the university’s Community Standards and Residential Regulations, the host of a social event will be held liable for harm caused by its guests.
“This fraternity and its members entered into a contract with Wesleyan University by which it agreed to take steps to ensure the safety of its social guests,” said Timothy O’Keefe, attorney for the plaintiff. “The evidence we present in court will demonstrate that it failed to abide by the terms of that agreement. As a result, a young woman was sexually assaulted at its premises. This suit seeks just compensation and accountability for her harms.”
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.