Student files lawsuit against Western Kentucky University and 19 others, after alleged rape
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - A student has filed a lawsuit against Western Kentucky University, Kappa Delta sorority, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and 17 other defendants. The complaint claims she was forced to drink at a fraternity event and later, raped in a dorm.
The court document was filed on February 7, 2022, a year and a day after the alleged events took place.
The plaintiff, a WKU student, which WBKO is not identifying due to the nature of the allegations, was under the age of 21 at the time of the alleged assault. She claims WKU President Tim Caboni, the University, and two Greek life chapters failed to properly act in her defense following the incident.
The woman also said she was forced to drink at Sigma Phi Epsilon’s ‘Crush Dance’ by her date.
The court documents state her date, one of the defendants, convinced her she was in the wrong car, took her back to his dorm, and raped her.
After the incident, the plaintiff went to the hospital and had a full sexual assault assessment.
According to the complaint, the nurse who examined her stated that she ‘sees these kinds of attacks coming from WKU weekly.’
Meanwhile, the Western Kentucky Police Department’s statistics are a lot different.
“Over the past three years, we’ve seen as few as two sexual assault cases, and as many as five over the past three years,” said Mitchell Walker, Chief of the WKU Police Department.
The plaintiff is suing for ten counts against twenty defendants. These counts consist of ‘negligence and gross negligence claims,’ as well as mental and physical damages.
WBKO reached out to WKU, and in response, they said, “We prioritize the safety and well-being of our students above all else. The allegations against WKU in the suit at untrue, and we will formally file out a full response with more information in the coming days,” says Jace Lux, Director of Media Relations/University Spokesperson at WKU.
Chief Mitchell Walker said in order to combat things like this happening, the WKU Police Department has several patrol shifts.
“We have three patrol shifts,” he said. “And so each shift is assigned to residence halls here on campus. And so they do foot patrols, they interact with the RAS and hall directors of those particular residence halls.”
Walker also said as soon as they get a call or complaint WKU responds immediately.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims she is aware of at least three other instances where a SigEp member sexually assaulted someone.
WBKO reached out to SigEp’s national chapter, who sent the following response:
“We are aware of a lawsuit recently filed that alleges assault by a former member of the Western Kentucky chapter in a campus residence hall. When the chapter became aware of this allegation in spring 2021, they immediately suspended the member and have been fully cooperative in the investigation of this situation.
While we cannot comment on pending litigation, I can tell you that SigEp takes any allegation of sexual misconduct very seriously, as sexual assault has no place in the fraternity experience. Throughout their SigEp experience, our members are educated on prevention, safe social practices, bystander intervention and accountability, because the safety of members and guests is our top priority.”
The plaintiff also claims the Kappa Delta sorority does not protect its members from the risk of harm from known dangers.
WBKO News will continue to follow this story.
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