2018 Fraternity Hazing Lawsuits
Rising number of alcohol and drug abuse-related deaths, sexual assaults, suggest that “self-policing” by college fraternities is a failure
For the past several years the fraternity hazing and misconduct staff at The Doan Law Firm have maintained a database documenting reported incidents where fraternities and their members found themselves under investigation by their host schools and/or local law enforcement agencies.
- April 2018
- School: Temple University
- Plaintiff: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Defendant: Ari Goldstein
In late April, Temple University suspended the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity after the school and Philadelphia police received “credible allegations” that the fraternity had committed repeated serious violations of the school’s alcohol and drug abuse policies. According to sources such as the New York Post, a month later the suspended fraternity’s president, Ari Goldstein, was arrested and charged with multiple offenses including unlawful restraint, intimidation of a witness, and attempted rape. The same sources report that Goldstein was re-arrested in October on similar charges involving another victim.
As of this writing, Goldstein remains free on bond and is awaiting trial.
In late November 2018, Temple announced that it had removed Alpha Epsilon Pi from its list of recognized student organizations due to violations of the school’s drug and alcohol policies. The fraternity’s national headquarters also revoked the local chapter’s charter, but also stated that it hoped to return to the campus at some time in the future.
- Spring/Summer 2018
- Action:Civil lawsuits (4), criminal prosecutions (2)
- School: Stockton (NJ) University
- Plaintiff: Four unnamed women
- Defendants: Pi Kappa Phi, Stockton University, Zachary Madle
According to the Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier Post, at least four lawsuits have been filed against Stockton University, the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and an individual named Zachary Madle, by women who claimed that they were sexually assaulted by Madle and/or other members of “rogue” fraternity Pi Kappa Phi.
Officials at Stockton have stated that Pi Kappa Phi was suspended from the school in 2010 over multiple violations regarding alcohol, hazing, and other “misconduct.” Although its national charter was also withdrawn at the time, the fraternity’s off-campus residence continued to display the copyrighted Pi Kappa Phi logo and the house’s residents referred to themselves as members of that organization. The national headquarters of Pi Kappa Phi issued several “cease and desist” to the local group but apparently took no further action. The off-campus frat house was in constant use until earlier this year when it appeared to have been suddenly abandoned.
Zachary Madle, who was identified as a 2015 alumnus of Stockton University, was later indicted on multiple charges, including sexual assault. He is currently free on bond and is awaiting trial.
- August 2018
- Action: Civil Lawsuit
- School: University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
- Plaintiff: Unnamed woman
- Defendants: Zeta Beta Tau, former Zeta Beta Tau member Blake Lobato, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and the UCLA Interfraternity Council
According to media sources such as the Los Angeles Times and the insidehighered.com website, on August 10, 2018 an unidentified woman filed a civil lawsuit against the UCLA chapters of two national fraternities, a former member of one fraternity, and the UCLA Interfraternity Council alleging “ … negligence, assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress …”
In the lawsuit, the woman states that she attended a party at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in August 2016. At that party, she states that Lobato encouraged her to drink an excessive number of alcoholic beverages and then suggested that she “sleep it off” at Lobato’s fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau. She says that she awoke some time later to find herself being sexually assaulted by Lobato. She reported the assault to the then-president of ZBT, but states that the fraternity did nothing save having attorney (and ZBT board member) Irving Chase attempt to dissuade her from reporting the incident to UCLA.
According to her lawsuit, the subsequent UCLA Title IX investigation confirmed her allegations and led to Lobato’s expulsion from both ZBT and UCLA in 2017.
- December 2018
- Action: Criminal prosecution, civil lawsuit
Baylor University School:, Baylor University
: State of Texas (criminal prosecution), unnamed woman (civil lawsuit)Plaintiffs
Defendants: Jacob Anderson, Phi Delta Theta
The Washington Post and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently carried stories concerning a former president of Baylor University’s Phi Delta Theta chapter accepting a plea deal after being charged with four counts of sexual assault in the rape of a 19-year-old woman at his fraternity house in 2016.
According to the deal, which originated from the McLennan County (TX) district attorney’s office, four felony counts of sexual assault will be dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of “unlawful restraint” by defendant Jacob Anderson. Instead of imprisonment, Anderson will pay a fine of $400 and be required to attend “counseling” as a condition of his three-year “deferred adjudication.” Under Texas law, if Anderson does not run afoul of law enforcement during his probation/deferred adjudication period, the guilty plea will be removed from his criminal record. Since he pled to a lesser charge Anderson, who was expelled from Texas Baptist General Conventilon-affilliated Baylor University after being criminally charged, will not be required to register as a convicted sex offender.
Following his expulsion from Baylor, Anderson was admitted to the University of Texas’ Dallas campus. After news coverage of his plea deal prompted public outcry, a reported 26,000 UT-Dallas students, staff members, and private citizens signed a petition demanding Anderson’s immediate removal from campus. UT-Dallas administrators issued an apology and stated that they were unaware of Anderson’s past, and announced that he would not be allowed to attend his graduation ceremony at the end of the semester but will receive his diploma via the postal service.
Following the announcement of Anderson’s plea bargain, the victim’s attorney filed a civil lawsuit naming Anderson, Phi Delta Theta, and Baylor as defendants.
What to do if you or a loved one are a victim of fraternity hazing
If you, or a family member, were a victim of fraternity misconduct, we invite you to contact The Doan Law Firm, a national law practice with offices in major cities throughout the country.
When you contact our firm, you will receive a free, no obligation, review of you potential fraternity misconduct lawsuit as well as our recommendations on the legal options that may be available in your particular case. After your free consultation, if you decide to pursue a lawsuit against those responsible for your injury, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.
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