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Police investigating sexual assaults at USC fraternity house [UPDATED]

Updated at 1 p.m.: Michael L. Jackson, USC vice president of student affairs, confirmed that the university has received reports of alleged sexual assaults involving three female students at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house early Wednesday morning.

“USC takes sexual assaults very seriously and is fully cooperating with the LAPD on the investigation,” Jackson said in a statement. “We are reaching out to the students and providing as much help as possible. We are also conducting our own investigation into student conduct issues and have placed the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity on interim suspension until all the facts are known."

Updated at 11:30 a.m.: Capt. Dennis Cremins of the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery and Homicide Division said that police have one confirmed victim of an alleged sexual assault. The woman made a statement to investigators. The division's rape unit is investigating the alleged assault.

Cremins said the crime occurred at a mixer at the fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha and that detectives had been at the scene all night.

Cameron Kay, president of the USC chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha, declined to comment on the investigation.

Original post:

Los Angeles police detectives are investigating three sexual assaults that allegedly occurred at a USC fraternity house early Wednesday morning.

The assaults were reported in the 700 block of West 28th Street, university officials said.

More information about the suspect or victims was not immediately available from the university or the Los Angeles Police Department, whose Robbery and Homicide Division is handling the case.

The university sent out a crime alert at 9:42 this morning.

-- Jia-Rui Chong and Richard Winton

 
Comments () | Archives (28)

USC Lambda Chi has always had a bunch of dirtballs.
Your typical frat jocks from the movies.

As a Trojan alumnus but never a "Greek", I am not at all surprised and deeply angered by this news. Over the decades and through at least 4 University presidencies and as many Provosts of which I'm aware; 28th street has not gone more than a year or two without such a horrific incident. When will the administration of our University finally get it through their heads that the Greek system at USC is inherently flawed and often and profligately crosses over the line of criminality?

Paul, as a Trojan and a Greek, I always found Lamda Chi to be a great group of guys.
Zooey, you'll be hard pressed to find any college or university that doesn't have to deal with fraternity/sorority issues every few years.
It's not the Greek system and it's not Lambda Chi, so let's leave that out of it.

At one point in the recent past Amherst College got rid of all the fraternities because the town found them disruptive, rude, thoughtless, destructive, etc. And USC can't ban Greeks for sexual assult?! What a shame! The entire USC community has gained a bad reputation because of this inaction.

Lynn-

Your vouching for the frat doesn't mean that they are a good group of guys. Also, a good group of guys is capable of doing some bad things. You are right, most colleges have to deal with fraternity/sorority issues every few years. But that means that there is something fundamentally wrong with the greek system.

I am a USC student, and if a sexual assault really did occur then I hope the appropriate measures will be taken. But let's not go banning all the fraternities until the facts are all in and the evidence weighed. In this country, we believe in innocent until proven guilty. Remember what happened to those poor guys on the lacrosse team at Duke.

Again...why is the Greek system being blamed for this?
Non-Greek college students party just like the rest of them, if not worse, since they are not bound by the strict requirements that USC requires for its fraternities and sororities. When I was at 'SC, some of the most dangerous parties held by were non-Greek students.

First, why would they ban Greeks when this case is still under investigation? Let the police release a little bit more information before concluding that the Greek system is flawed.

As a Trojan and a member of the Greek community, I am angered by this news as well. However, to imply that the Greek system is "inherently flawed" is a haste accusation. I believe exactly the same situation could happen at a non-Greek house around USC and wouldn't receive the same attention because of the implied associations with Greeks and Fraternities. If you want to blame the accused, go for it, but don't burn an entire community that brings so much to the Trojan family.

Ben, I suppose you're right, my vouching for Lamda Chi carries about as much weight as Paul saying they are a bunch of dirtbags. I'll retract that comment and wait for the facts to come in.

This sickens me. Nothing good has ever come from the "Greek" system. In fact, I would be that the real GREEKS would be disgusted with what ALL frat and sorority houses exemplify.

Ban them all. The students belonging to the systems are to weak to stand alone anyway.

So if you get rid of the Greek System, all the individuals that comprise the system will all of a sudden become saints? Don't be ridiculous.

As a recent USC Lambda Chi Alum these are some very troublesome allegations. Those individuals responsible for this must be held accountable if they indeed found to be responsible for the sexual assaults. However, in defense of the fraternity, it only takes the actions one individual to ruin the reputations of a group of good guys. Paul, your comments reflect a clearly uneducated and stereotypical response to events such as this. I had many fraternity brothers who were highly involved in the university and have pursued esteemed careers in the military, ministry, and law. The villification of "frats" and "the greek system" is an easy way to understand the situation. Unfortunately, for those accused and associated with the fraternity, the court of public opinion takes a guilty until proven innocent approach to this terrible situation. Regardless, this is a lose, lose situation for every individual associated with this incident.

One of my close friends was 'taken advantage' of by a guy in Lambda Chi at USC. She was too afraid to press charges and stand up for herself knowing she would ruin this guy's life forever and didn't feel he deserved it that much punishment.
As a victim of rape myself, I understand how hard it must have been for this girl to stand up. It's so sad to know the guy/s who did this will have their lives essentially ruined over a few minutes of fun. I do feel sorry for them, but pressing charges is the right thing to do and will bring justice for the victim and other victims who have been too afraid to step forward. If this girl was drunk, as I was and my friend was, yeah it's a tough line to read between 'consentual' and 'non-consentual'. But at the end of the day it is wrong for ANYONE guy or girl to take advantage of someone whose judgement is clouded. If it were, then it would be ok for us to steal or cheat them in other ways-right?

I am a Trojan and a former Greek member. I have always believed that "the Greek system" at any academic institution has always had its high and low points. There is no arguing that no matter how this situation pans out there will be many people hurt by these accusations. If they are found to be true then I hope they punish the individuals to the fullest extent of the law. If they are not true then I am thankful we have a system that allows the innocent to get a fair shake.

Based on what I have read in this article, we do not know that it was in fact "Frat" guys who did this. To jump to that conclusion, is wrong and it should not be done. Also, to make comments on the underlying fabric that makes up those who comprise the Greek system is also wrong. I know plenty of men that were "Frat" guys who now attend the finest medical schools and law schools in our country. They are the men that will be charged with upholding the morals of our most honored professions. Similarly, I know many Greeks that have gone on, in varying capacities, to serve those around them just as they did in their undergraduate careers as fraternity brothers. Greeks have always consistently been very involved on campus and in philanthropic endeavors.

It is unfortunate that instead of feeling bad for those who actually have to live through this, the victims,etc. some of you choose to spend your time making sweeping generalizations about people you don't know. For the time being you should analyze and choose your words more carefully.

As both a Trojan and a Greek I am angered and saddened by this situation. It is incredibly unfortunate and I hope that those at fault will be brought to justice.

At the same time, I am appalled at the comments about the Greek system in general. First, there are no facts stating that the incident was perpetrated by a Lambda Chi or by a Greek member. It could have been a non-Greek who was present at the mixer. Second, even if it was a Greek who committed the assault/rape, it is entirely unfair to villify an entire system that, as "Trojan" said, brings so much to the USC community. Those who do villify the Greek system are utliizing stereotypes to perpetuate a prejudice. This is no better than saying that all African-Americans are evil/flawed/etc. because there are certain African-Americans that have committed crimes. The individual does not define the group.

It disturbs me that there are a few people who have this knee-jerk, reflexive response to anything that happens to involve the Greek Community. Blaming all Greeks for actions like this is like saying that "all Muslims are terrorists" simply because 9/11 was carried out by muslim extremists. The crimes of one or two members of a certain group should not be considered representative of the whole. To think that is to be uninformed, bigoted, and discriminatory.

As a USC student and sorority member, I cannot stress enough, girls, look out for each other. This type of crime is a crime of opportunity, do not let your friend be an easy target. When an incident like this occurs, it is not only the perpetrator that is to blame. Stand up for what is right and look out for others in your community so a situation like this won't be able to come to fruition.

To All:

The course of human events will determine what "may" have happened in the early hours of today. Let's give our justice system a break and let it do it's work.

What is tragic within the Trojan Family is that such an event as this is "alleged" to have happened, and on 28th Street. Yet again.

All this, on the heels of a recent, enormous, needless tragedy at Jefferson and Hoover gives any Trojan reason for grief.

The notion that somehow these types of events happen among the vast student population of USC students, or students nationally seems to be cognitive dissonace.

A terrible situation. Interesting in light of the Greeks full page Daily Trojan ad supporting last week's anti-violence against women campaign "Take Back the Night" but none of them bothered to show up to support the four day on campus event. Neither did anyone from the USC Administration either. I guess the Greeks are anti violence against women on paper only.

When will the USC administration stop playing image manager and deal seriously with this problem?

through out history...males have always raped females.
even in the animal kingdom rape occurs.
until females stop being "stupid and ignorant" and take a stand against such acts of violence and control...it will continue.
it is amazing a female would not report it because she fears "ruining the male's life"...how ignorant is that?
as long as females remain "stupid and ignorant", males will continue to rape and violate and control females.
there are a few females out there that will stand up to these males.....i will not feel sorry for those males.

We can only pray that the wheels of justice turn swiftly. This is a wake-up call once again to 28th street that their reputation is always in the spot light. If this wasn't a frat guy/guys, maybe the call is to restrict attendees to known friends that can provide ID so that the "house" can document the valued good character of all attending. Ladies, wrong is always wrong, my heartfelt prayer for healing and stength for you - the guilty must be punished and you will be protecting others from future events by this perpetrator(s).

this is from the duke lacrosse case:

"On April 11, 2007, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges and declared the three players innocent. Cooper stated that the charged players – Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans – were victims of a "tragic rush to accuse."

as a usc alumni and someone who dropped out of a greek house, i'm curious to know what the 'high points' are of the greek system? honestly, what good comes out of it? sure, each house has a charity event every year. but i find it problematic when your idea of charity is raising money by charging people to come party & drink. there is nothing honorable or good about that. the greek system is degrading to women, teaches men to be pompous pigs, and in general, promotes a lifestyle of promiscuity and reckless behavior. the idea that the greek system equips leaders & fosters meaningful friendships is propaganda perpetuated by panhellinic and, sadly, condoned by our great university. i don't mean to villify all students who are greek- there are certainly plenty who have morals & go on to lead great lives. my only point is that in my experience, the greek system does more harm than good. i think better friendships & stronger leaders could be raised up in an atmosphere more appropriate for academia -- let's be honest- true, lasting friendships aren't built when you're blackout drunk in the middle of the street. my heart goes out to the victims of this possible rape. my heart also goes out to all of those who have been abused and mistreated & made to feel inadequate through participation in the greek system. i have had too many girls cry on my shoulder over this horrible establishment. i assure you, there is so much more to life than greek life at usc. i keep you all in my prayers.

A reply to the comment by "alumni" below me:

First of all, charity is charity, no matter how people raise the money. Second of all, there is only one fraternity who raises money by charging to party, the only other people who do that are NON-GREEK organizations. There are far more non-greek organizations who raise money by charging for parties than greek organizations. As an example, just this past friday night I paid $5 to go to a party thrown to raise money for an architectural charity that is trying to go to Panama, and the very next night, I paid to get in to a party thrown by a drama company trying to raise money to put on a show. My fraternity, on the other hand, gets corporate sponsors to give money for publicity at events on campus that we put together with people like Tim Floyd and Pete Caroll. No partying involved.
Second of all, I question what kind of a freternity you were in , if all you did was get drunk, black out, and party. If that is true, then I am sorry you made such a poor choice of fraternities. Talk about stereotypes, THAT is the stereotypical fraternity, and that is not what most fretarnities at USC are like. If you were indeed in a fraternity, you would know that. You would also know that IFC is in charge of fraternities, NOT panhellenic. So, Mr. Alumni, were you REALLY in a fraternity, or are you just trying to make a point? If so, how do you ever get IFC and Panhellenic confused?

tim,

1) i am a woman. i was in a sorority.
2) i did not get drunk, blackout & party. it is just what i saw going on all around me. and it broke my heart. those poor girls are so much better than that and they don't realize it.
3) i'm happy to hear that your fraternity does charity work that doesn't involve drinking. but chances are your fraternity throws parties & serves large amounts of alcohol to minors, helping to perpetuate unsafe situations for men & women alike.
4) ii agree that many others outside of the greek system raise money by throwing parties. i targeted the greek system & panhellenic in particular simply because they are a prominent, large, organized group that pretends to be something they are not. administrators speak highly of the greek system when, in my opinion, it does much more harm than good. and i think deep down, most women eventually realize that.

 
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