JIO found student guilty of 1991 rape A Zeta Beta Tau brother was expelled last semester after the University judicial system found him guilty of raping a woman at a January 1991 party in the house, sources said yesterday. But the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office declined last June to press charges against the man. According to several sources, the woman, a Harvard University student, was visiting her sister who attends the University when she was allegedly raped on January 26, 1991. The woman made a report to Harvard Police on March 19, almost two months after the incident. University Police and Philadelphia Police Sex Crimes division were informed on March 29. University officials said the ZBT brother was a sophomore at the time of the incident. Assistant District Attorney Dianne Granlund, who heads the city's rape prosecution unit, said because the case was never taken to court, there is no court file and the name of the student cannot be released. The University judicial system does not release the names of alleged assailants, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act which is designed to protect students' academic records. Harvard University Police Chief Paul Johnson said last year the victim reported the incident to Harvard Police, who then reported it to University Police. Johnson also said the woman had taken a leave of absence from Harvard at the time. Former Judicial Inquiry Officer Constance Goodman, who investigated the incident, declined to comment last night on the specifics of the case. "I will not comment on the painful specifics of this significant case, but I will say that the type of conduct to which you have referred will not be tolerated by this University," Goodman said. "Any member of the University community who is duly proven to be involved in such behavior will be rightly ousted." And ZBT President Matthew Feinsod also declined last night to comment on the case. "Whatever happened, if anything, was handled by the judicial committee of the University and is confidential," he said. "And it would be inappropriate for me to comment." One University official, who asked not to be named, called the expulsion "a major win" for women at the University. And another source, who has been in contact with the victim, said yesterday the woman is pleased with the sanction. While several victim support officials declined to comment on this specific case, they said that the University has made strides in handling rape reports. Penn Women's Center Director Elena DiLapi said she feels the University judicial system has dealt appropriately with most cases. "In a number of cases the system is responding pretty well," DiLapi said, adding that the system is not completely effective because women are "afraid to report because of the social power that fraternities have and [because of fear of] real retaliation." "It is a pattern that people are afraid to come forward," DiLapi said. DiLapi emphasized that the University's system looks particularly good in comparason to peer institutions nationwide. "As much work as our system needs, we are the good news," DiLapi said. Director of Victim Support Services Ruth Wells also said that sanctions for students who are found guilty of rape through the University judicial system are fair. "The University, with the information that it has about all of the cases that are referred either to the [Vice Provost for University Life's] office or the JIO, does take appropriate action," Wells said. Wells, who has been at the University for 15 years, said she is aware of several cases in which students were expelled or left the school voluntarily following a charge of rape by the judicial system. Since her arrival at the University in 1985, DiLapi said she is aware of only one student expulsion because of a charge of rape. ZBT had been on probation since the fall of 1989 as a result of a 1988 incident in which brothers hired two strippers for a rush event. During the strip show, several spectators performed sexual acts upon the women with cucumbers and ketchup. The incident led to an 18-month suspension of the fraternity. While the fraternity was not found collectively responsible, former JIO Goodman, said last spring that if the fraternity had been found responsible as a group it could have affected the probation. Staff writer Jeremy Brosowsky contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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