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USC sexual assault case may involve tainted punch

April 16, 2009 |  1:35 pm

Authorities are investigating three sexual assaults that allegedly occurred at a USC fraternity house during a party early Wednesday morning.

USC officials, who said three woman had come forward to report being assaulted at a Lambda Chi Alpha mixer, have issued a campus crime alert. Los Angeles Police Department detectives said they had  interviewed one of the alleged victims and hoped to talk to additional victims soon.

According to an LAPD statement, a 19-year-old woman went to the party Tuesday night. She drank punch that officials suspect contained “an unknown intoxicant” and blacked out, police said. The woman, who awoke partially clothed, told police she had been sexually assaulted.

She sought medical treatment and called police. Capt. Denis Cremins of the LAPD's Robbery and Homicide Division said the rape unit was investigating the alleged assault and that detectives had spent hours at the fraternity house.

According to USC, the campus police assisted the LAPD with a search of the house. Cameron Kay, president of the USC chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha, declined to comment on the investigation.

 “USC takes sexual assaults very seriously and is fully cooperating with the LAPD on the investigation,” said Michael L. Jackson, USC vice president of student affairs. “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."

-- Jia-Rui Chong