Daily Mail reports:
A former College of Charleston student is suing the school and a fraternity, saying she was drugged and raped during the first week of school, when she was just a 17-year-old freshman.
According to the lawsuit, the young woman went to a ‘Bid Day’ party hosted by Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter the afternoon of August 27 when two of the fraternity’s brothers, 21-year-old Timothy Seppi and 22-year-old James West III, forced her into a bedroom.
The victim – who is not being identified – says the two men locked the door, took off her clothes and forced her to drink more alcohol and take cocaine. She says she was then forced to perform a sex act with West while Seppi recorded the abuse on his phone.
Previous reports stated that a witness who had been in the room saw ‘some kid’ taking the victim’s clothes off and the girl ‘started saying no’.
According to the lawsuit, the men became annoyed when the student kept resisting and left her naked and ‘alone and crying on the bedroom floor,’ according to the lawsuit. Later that day, she was taken to Medical University Hospital where she had a rape kit taken. Police met the victim at the hospital and took her statement.
Friends told police that she initially didn’t want to go to the hospital, but that her dorm resident adviser and roommate convinced her to after overhearing details of the alleged assault.
The teen is now seeking unspecified damages for the physical and emotional pain she allegedly endured.
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.’
Seppi and West were arrested in the following weeks. Seppi is charged with first-degree and third-degree exploitation of a minor, while West is charged with engaging a child for sexual performance. Investigators reportedly found photos on Seppi’s phone, showing the victim undressed and sitting on the bed with a naked male who she identified as West.
Charleston police said more charges may be filed as investigators await the results of other tests. Shortly after he turned himself into police, West submitted to a DNA swab. Authorities have not said yet whether his DNA matches any evidence in the rape kit. Both men are out of jail after posting $15,000 bail.
Friends who were at the fraternity party told police that there were strippers there and that a ‘highly intoxicated’ Seppi became aggressive toward them – eventually leading him to be kicked out of the party.
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.
Records show that in 2012, there were 10 cases of sexual assault reported at the school, three in 2013 and 13 reported in 2014.
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.’
According to previous reports, West is from New York City and was studying finance at the school. Seppi is from Rockville, Maryland according to his Facebook profile.