By Lisa Buchmeier
MILWAUKEE (CN) - A University of Wisconsin-Madison student says she was drugged and gang raped at a Sigma Chi Fraternity party - the latest in a long line of ugly accusations against one of the nation's oldest fraternities. Jane Doe's complaint lists a dozen other criminal allegations at other Sigma Chi chapters across the country, which preceded the October 2008 party at which she was attacked. Doe says the fraternity failed miserably in its promise to supervise and control its chapters.
According to her complaint in Milwaukee County Court and contemporary media reports:
Three Sigma Chi members at Colgate University in New York raped a woman in 1987. The men admitted the attacks to police, but received no jail time. The woman sued and won an undisclosed settlement.
Two Sigma Chi members at the University of Mississippi were accused of contributing to a pledge's suicide in 1997, in a hazing incident.
A University of New Mexico student reported that he was spat on and forced to eat his own vomit and the spit and vomit of others during initiation in 1998.
Sigma Chi members were accused of vandalizing the float of a gay and lesbian student organization at the 2000 Vanderbilt University homecoming parade, and shouting "Die, faggots!" as the float passed the Sigma Chi house,.
In the fall of 2008, more than 50 members were arrested after a party celebrating the Vanderbilt football team got out of hand.
The Student Judicial Board at George Mason University in Virginia revoked recognition of the Sigma Chi chapter for 10 years for violating the university's code. The board found clear and convincing evidence that the fraternity sponsored parties where there was underage drinking, hazing and sexual assaults.
The Sigma Chi chapter at John Hopkins University was suspended in October 2006 after racially themed Halloween party. The party was advertised on Facebook as "Halloween in the 'Hood" and the invitation described Baltimore as a "motherf---ing ghetto" and an "HIV pit." Black students who attended said guests were dressed as pimps, prostitutes and slaves. A plastic skeleton dressed as a pirate was hung from a noose and fake gunshots rang out as guests approached the property. The author of the invitation was expelled and the fraternity was placed on social probation for two months.
A student at Missouri State University sued Sigma Chi Fraternity and a former fraternity brother, saying he was assaulted in 2005. The man says he was struck repeatedly all over his body and permanently injured. His lawsuit listed at least 17 reports of criminal or violent activity related to the Sigma Chi Fraternity that were made to the Springfield Police Department during 2005. Before the lawsuit was filed, the fraternity was removed from the Missouri campus
In April, the Daily Nebraskan reported that the fraternity was suspended by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after eight members were charged with hazing. In some cases, pledges were forced to take shots of vodka and Tabasco sauce until they vomited and were penetrated anally by a stripper with a vibrator.
The Jane Doe plaintiff from University of Wisconsin-Madison is a member of a sorority and told the student newspaper, the Badger Herald, that she came forward with the allegations after another woman told her that she too had been raped at the Sigma Chi house. Jane Doe says she believes other victims have not come forward and that the unsupervised, out-of-control behavior of Sigma Chi's members continues.
She demands punitive damages. She is represented by Robert Elliott.
Copyright 2009 The Courthouse News.