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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fraternity Dodges Suit for College Party Rape

(CN) - A fraternity is not liable for the alleged rape of a college freshman who got drunk at a party sponsored by the University of Chicago chapter, the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled.

Jane Doe claimed that Psi Upsilon Fraternity violated of the Gender Violence Act by encouraging a student to allegedly attack her after a on April 30, 2010, party at the frat house for Psi Upsilon's chapter at the University of Chicago.

Doe, a freshman, said she got very drunk at the party, leaving her vulnerable to attack. Eric M., a senior, allegedly sexually assaulted her after the party at his off-campus apartment.

She said she agreed to sleep on Eric's couch, but awoke several hours later as Eric was raping her.

Though the complaint does not allege that Eric belonged to Psi Upsilon, Doe said fraternity contributed to the "gender-related violence that took place later that evening."

A Cook County judge dismissed the count against the fraternity, saying it did not qualify as a "person" under the Gender Violence Act.

The Illinois Court of Appeals affirmed on Dec. 16, noting that Doe did not connect the national organization of the fraternity to the alleged events of that evening.

"Plaintiff has not alleged any connection between defendant, the national organization and Eric M.'s conduct," Justice Robert Gordon wrote for a three-member panel on behalf of the Chicago-based court. "Accordingly, we cannot find that plaintiff has alleged that defendant personally assisted in the alleged act of gender-related violence."

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