Last month, multiple female students attending Stockton University claim they were sexually assaulted at an off campus fraternity house. Four students named the Stockton University, the unrecognized fraternity Pi Kappa Phi — and three current and former students in civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and discrimination under the federal discrimination law Title IX. The four women say they were drugged and raped by current and former Stockton students between 2014 and 2017.
News reports indicate there is photographic evidence of brutal sexual assaults on Stockton University freshmen during and after off campus fraternity parties. Images include bite marks and many bruises over the victims’ bodies. Legal counsel alleges that Stockton University and the national governing body of Pi Kappa Phi knew a branch of the fraternity that lost its affiliation 8 years ago was still operating off campus—throwing parties and hosting underage drinking.
According to attorney Neal Goldstein, “These lawsuits are not surprising to us, but may be a real eye opener to those not aware of the sexual assaults occurring on campuses throughout the United States. No campus is immune to the problem. The sad truth is that too many rapes and assaults go unreported. Our job, when we represent victims’ is to listen, give solid legal advice and help them seek justice, while maintaining complete compassion and respect for what they have already been through.”
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 23 percent of women undergraduates experience rape or sexual assault, but nearly 80 percent don’t report it. Men are also affected, with about 5 percent of male undergraduates experiencing sexual assault or rape, the data shows.
Some may argue how do you know the University is aware of the sexual assault problem, or is it really as big a problem as the lawsuits claim. Well if it wasn’t such a big problem, news reports would not indicate that 60 students who attended a class on Women, Gender and Sexuality chose to report on it as a topic last Spring. In addition, the University must have know this fraternity, official or not, was in operation. How could the University miss the fraternity brothers wearing their Greek letters on campus during rush weeks?
It should be noted that National Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity released the following statement:“Pi Kappa Phi closed its chapter at Stockton University in May 2010. At that time, all student members were directed to cease and desist any activities in the name of Pi Kappa Phi. The defendants named in this lawsuit are not members of Pi Kappa Phi. The fraternity does not have any further comment on the pending litigation.” It will be interesting to see how the courts handle those accused, we’ll be keeping watch. In the meantime, if you feel you need help after being sexually assaulted, please first seek medical attention and then you may call our office for a free, completely confidential consultation. We’ll let you know what your legal options are, and help in any way we can. Call us at 516-222-4000.