Teen files rape suit against Charleston college, fraternity

AP News
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Posted: Dec 20, 2016 9:22 AM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A former College of Charleston student is suing the school and a fraternity, saying she was drugged and raped at a party when she was a 17-year-old freshman.

The woman went to a party in August hosted by Alpha Epsilon Pi's Chi Omicron chapter when two of the fraternity's brothers forced her into a bedroom, according to the lawsuit.

The men locked the door, took off her clothes and forced her to take illegal drugs. The lawsuit says one man made her perform a sex act while the other was video recording, according to the lawsuit obtained by The Post and Courier of Charleston (http://bit.ly/2hDpXps).

The men became annoyed when the student kept resisting and left her alone on the floor, naked and crying, according to the lawsuit, which said she had to be hospitalized and receive other treatment for her injuries.

Attorney Nathan Hughey said the teen decided to sue because the fraternity and the college created an environment where this kind of assault could happen. He said she was so traumatized she dropped out of school and went back to her home in another state.

"Her dreams of what her life was going to be at this point have been ruined," Hughey said. "This is something that's probably going to carry on with her for the rest of her life."

The two men — Timothy Seppi and James West III — were arrested. Seppi is charged with first-degree and third-degree exploitation of a minor, while West is charged with engaging a child for sexual performance. Charleston police said more charges may be filed as investigators await the results of other tests. It wasn't known if the men had lawyers.

Three days after the teen said she was attacked, Alpha Epsilon Pi national leaders revoked the chapter's charter and College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell announced a ban on alcohol at all Greek social functions. He said there were a number of problems including alcohol poisoning and disruptive parties.

Several other fraternities and sororities have been closed or disciplined since then.

The college and the fraternity said they don't comment on pending lawsuits. But national Alpha Epsilon Pi attorney Jim B. Ewbank did issue a statement.

"Alpha Epsilon Pi has a very clear and strong policy against sexual assault, and provides education to its local chapters on this policy," Ewbank said. "No similar allegations had been previously made about the two individuals charged with the assault, making this very disturbing incident completely unforeseeable."

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com