Attorneys for a woman who was raped at the Wesleyan University Beta Theta Pi house filed a motion in federal court last week that accused the fraternity of trying to intimidate the victim by forcing the court to reveal her identity.
The woman, identified only as Jane Doe in court documents, has proceeded anonymously to date in her civil lawsuit against the fraternity, its national organization and Wesleyan for her rape at the Beta house in October 2010.
The fraternity argued in a motion filed in U.S. District Court last month that Doe should not be granted anonymity while making what they characterize as defamatory statements against Beta, such as claiming in court filings the Wesleyan chapter in Middletown, Conn., was known as a "rape factory" on campus.
Douglas Fierberg, Doe's attorney, described the move in a statement as a "brutish request by the fraternity."
"[The] motion has absolutely nothing to do with fairness and is really intended to intimidate Jane, and other rape survivors, from bringing civil suit in circumstances where, as here, the truth rightly shocks the normal conscience," Doe's attorneys wrote in a motion filed July 2.
As a freshman at Wesleyan, Doe was assaulted at the frat's Halloween party in 2010 by John O'Neill, who was neither a member of Beta nor a student at the university. O'Neill was convicted of lesser charges in June 2012 and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Doe has since left the school. Her lawsuit claims that the fraternity and university failed to protect her from the assault.
"Simply, this case is not one of those 'exceptional circumstances' requiring plaintiff's anonymity," Jeremy D. Platek, an attorney for the fraternity, said in a letter to Fierberg, according to the Hartford Courant.
Wesleyan and Beta Theta Pi did not respond to request for comment from The Huffington Post.
Doe needs anonymity, her attorneys claim, in part due to harassment she has faced since reporting her 2010 assault. The court filing goes on to contend that Wesleyan and Beta have a history of failing to protect women from sexual violence and subsequent harassment after they report the crimes. They cite another woman, referred to under the pseudonym "Mary," who reported being raped at the Beta house in the summer of 2006.
A male Wesleyan dean "pressured Mary into making an oral agreement to resolve her complaint," court papers say. The agreement "purportedly barred the rapist from being on campus after classes, having any contact with Mary, and participating in some senior activities." However, the accused student was not suspended or expelled from Wesleyan.
Mary and her sister suffered harassment from the accused student's peers, according to court documents: "At one point, Mary learned of plans the rapist had to throw a party at the Beta House. She notified Wesleyan, and it intervened to prevent the party. The party was then purposely moved to the apartment directly next door to Mary's." (Italics added by Doe's attorneys)
Doe's attorneys have also cited an essay by Joanna Bourain, titled "Wesleyan's Great, Unless You Get Raped," as further evidence the private university does not adequately respond to sexual misconduct.
"My client, Jane Doe, overcame fear, humiliation and pain to see the man who raped her prosecuted, and, then, to file suit against those who failed to protect her and others from rape at the Beta House," Fierberg said in a statement. "Jane, like other rape survivors, must not be forced by courts to expose her identity to the world as a crushing price for seeking justice."
Also on HuffPost:
University Of Colorado - Boulder
CU-Boulder has two federal complaints against it, and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/cu-boulder-sexual-assault-investigation_n_3614277.html" target="_blank">opened one</a> for investigation.
Students at Swarthmore College <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/18/swarthmore-federal-complaint-sexual-assaults_n_3110445.html" target="_blank">filed a Title IX civil rights</a> complaint and a Clery Act complaint <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/sexual-assaults-mishandled-dartmouth-swarthmore_n_3321939.html?utm_hp_ref=college" target="_blank">which alleges the college </a>underreports sexual assaults and fails to respond to properly handle reports of sexual misconduct and harassment. The college promised to launch a review of their policies, and began <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/19/swarthmore-sexual-misconduct-reform_n_3624016.html" target="_blank">announcing reforms</a> in the summer of 2013.
After Angie Epifano wrote a lengthy op-ed about her experience trying to report a sexual assault at Amherst College, the school <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/amherst-college-sexual-assault-policy-review_n_2002874.html">started an internal review</a> and a revamp of their policies.
University Of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina began looking into their own policies after students and a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/unc-sexual-assault_n_2488383.html">former administrator filed two complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights</a>. The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/unc-sexual-assaults_n_2823522.html" target="_blank">university now has</a> three federal investigations launched by the Education Department, including one into whether the university <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/07/unc-investigation-retaliation_n_3555886.html" target="_blank">retaliated against </a>one of the complainants.
University Of Montana
Update: The DOJ found the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/09/university-of-montana-rape_n_3247466.html" target="_blank"> university botched rape </a>reports. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/feds-examine-response-to-_0_n_1470286.html">May 12, 2012 </a>report from AP: MISSOULA, Mont. -- The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation into the way Missoula police, prosecutors and the University of Montana have responded to reports of sexual assault and harassment after the agency learned of complaints that cases were not being properly handled. The investigation was disclosed Tuesday after a preliminary examination conducted earlier this year concluded there was enough evidence to move ahead with a full probe, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said. Lawyers from the Justice Department's civil rights division will look at all 80 sexual assaults reported by women in Missoula over the past three years. Eleven sexual assaults involving university students have been reported in the past 18 months. Prosecutors were trying to figure out whether those university complaints were included in the total number of citywide assaults reported.
Oklahoma State Sexual Assault Reporting - Reviewed By University Task Force
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/oklahoma-state-sexual-assault-report_n_2317687.html">Dec. 17, 2012</a>: <blockquote>It took nearly a month for Oklahoma State University officials to tell police that a single student had been accused by several others of sexual assault, prompting confusion and outrage over the lengthy delay. On Thursday, OSU President Burns Hargis announced he asked the Board of Regents' task force to review the school's handling of the sexual assault complaints. The task force was formed in July to review school policies and ensure a situation like the Sandusky scandal at Penn State does not unfold at OSU. Hargis said in a statement that OSU "cannot leave any doubt that we are indeed properly and appropriately handling sexual misconduct allegations," Tulsa World reports.</blockquote>
University Of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame Under Federal Review After Second Family Complains About Assault Allegations Mishandle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/19/university-of-notre-dame-_n_825396.html">Feb. 19, 2011</a>: <blockquote>The University of Notre Dame has been placed under federal review by the U.S. Department of Education following two incidents of reported sexual assault that occurred this academic year.</blockquote>
Two years after the Ivy League school went under a federal investigation, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/yale-sexual-assault-punishment_n_3690100.html" target="_blank">students and alumni once again say</a> the university fails to properly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/yale-sexual-assault-punishment_n_3786885.html" target="_blank">handle sexual assaults</a> and harassment. <a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/06/15/yale-settles-charges-of-sexual-discrimination/#ixzz2Ly8bXen3">June 15, 2012 report from Time magazine</a>: <blockquote>The Department of Education announced on Friday that it had resolved a complaint that Yale University had failed to eliminate sexual discrimination on campus. The complaint, filed by a group of 16 current and former students in March 2011, stemmed from an incident on campus on the evening of Oct. 13, 2010, in which members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity marched across the Yale campus to a dorm where many female students lived and chanted “No means yes! Yes means anal!” A video of the chanting men was posted online and quickly went viral, spurring an uproar at the university and nationwide.</blockquote> Yale <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/yale-clery-act_n_3280195.html" target="_blank">was fined $165,000 </a>by the feds.
Southern Methodist University -- Launches Task Force After String Of Sexual Assaults Reported
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12/southern-methodist-sexual-assaults_n_1959302.html">Oct. 12, 2012 report</a> from HuffPost: <blockquote>Two students in separate cases were arrested last month on sexual assault charges. However, it raised eyebrows as people noted it took eight months to bring charges in one case while only a few days in the other. In response to the controversy, SMU announced a special task force to review how the school handles reports of sexual violence. Administrative action aside, problems persist on the Texas campus. On Wednesday, just a day before the first task force meeting, students received a crime alert warning of another sexual assault; this one allegedly targeting a young woman in her apartment west of campus by an acquaintance and fellow SMU student. The incident became the fifth sexual assault reported this year and the third in the past six weeks to go under investigation by University Park police. At least 40 sexual assaults were reported since 2006, according to the SMU Daily Campus, and almost all of them from SMU students. Over the past 25 years, more than 100 women at SMU reported being sexually assaulted.</blockquote>