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Panel Questions 22 in Alleged Fraternity Rape

January 22, 1986|LEONARD BERNSTEIN | Times Staff Writer

A disciplinary panel questioned 22 people over 12 1/2 hours Tuesday as San Diego State University began its inquiry into an 18-year-old student's claim that she was raped at a campus fraternity party Nov. 15.

The panel of three administrators and two students heard testimony in closed session from the campus police detective who investigated the case and from 15 fraternity and 6 sorority members, university spokeswoman Sue Raney said.

She said about 15 more witnesses will be called today and some of those interviewed Tuesday may be questioned again.

Ken Smerz, director of chapter affairs for Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and Lisa Angelos, president of Delta Gamma sorority, also questioned witnesses, Raney said.

The woman who said she was raped has withdrawn from school and did not attend the session despite a request by Smerz that she be there, Raney said.

The panel will determine whether Pi Kappa Alpha and Delta Gamma violated numerous university rules during an "exchange party" between the two organizations at the fraternity house. Charges against individuals will be considered later.

The unidentified 18-year-old woman, a pledge at the sorority, has told police she was raped in a private bedroom at the fraternity house after drinking what she believed was non-alcoholic punch.

Campus Police Chief John Carpenter has said he believes there is enough evidence to charge three men in the case, one of them with rape.

But San Diego County Dist. Atty. Edwin Miller decided Dec. 5 not to press charges, saying prosecutors could not "prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a rape occurred." Smerz said Tuesday after reading the results of the university's investigation into the incident that "in my opinion there's no way a rape occurred."

Charges against the fraternity and sorority came after an investigation into the matter by the university's division of student affairs. The fraternity is charged with physical abuse of a member of the campus community; lewd, indecent, or obscene behavior; obstructing the administrative investigation; hazing, and alcohol violations.

The sorority, which co-sponsored the party, is charged with hazing and alcohol violations. Both organizations face disciplinary sanctions including loss of on-campus status, which would result in their being closed down.

The fraternity remains on suspension pending the outcome of the hearing. The university has withheld the diplomas of four fraternity members scheduled to graduate last semester and the fraternity has been barred from participating in "rush" activities that begin Friday. Fraterntiy rush introduces prospective new members to each house.

On Tuesday, five sorority and five fraternity officers, their attorneys, six university administrators, two faculty representatives, the hearing panel and a university attorney made up the list of people allowed into the hearing room, which was guarded by a campus police officer. Several witnesses declined to speak to reporters as they came down a flight of stairs from the hearing.

A second day of hearings is scheduled for today. The panel will draw conclusions and make recommendations to Michael Hoctor, director of housing and residential life, who will decide the organizations' fates.

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