January 18, 2001

Investigation Into Alleged Rape at Fraternity Continues

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Ithaca Police are still investigating a rape that allegedly occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 28 at the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity (Rockledge) at 804 Stewart Ave.

The reported incident “comes as a big surprise to the [fraternity] brothers and to the house,” said Kurt Hoffman ’02, who was president of Rockledge last fall.

The Cornell University Police Department (CUPD) was first informed of the incident Nov. 9, when a relative of the victim reported that a rape may have occurred 12 days earlier at the fraternity, according to Linda Grace-Kobas, director of Cornell News Service.

After conducting an investigation, which included an interview with the victim, CUPD “determined that there was no immediate danger to the community, and so [it] did not issue a campus crime warning,” Cornell Police Capt. Randall H. Hausner ’85 said in a statement to The Sun.

According to Hoffman and other fraternity members, no special events, including those involving alcohol, were held at the house on the weekend of Oct. 27-29. At those house events which do involve alcohol, Hoffman stated that the fraternity follows all rules.

Since the rape allegedly occurred at Rockledge, which is located off-campus, the investigation was transferred to the Ithaca Police Department. CUPD’s preliminary investigation yielded inconclusive results, and concluded Dec. 15 with no assailants identified and no charges filed, according to Hausner.

Ithaca Police have not yet released any information about the case, including whether or not the victim was a Cornell student.

According to Grace-Kobas, the victim “received support services from both local Ithaca community and Cornell counseling services.”

Victims of sexual assault in the Cornell community can call Gannett Health Services at any time for medical and counseling services (255-5155), said Sharon Dittman, associate director of community relations for Gannett.

Cayuga Medical Center of Tompkins County has on staff a team of nurse examiners, physicians and police officers who are specially trained to “assist survivors of sexual assaults with emotional, medical and legal issues,” Dittman said.

Although Gannett is not equipped with such a team, its staff does offer medical care and counseling for victims of sexual assault. They also offer testing for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and emergency contraception (within 72 hours of a sexual encounter) to anyone who requests it.

Among other services available in the Cornell and Ithaca communities for victims of sexual assault are CAPS (counseling and psychological services) at Gannett (255-5208); Center for Crime Victim and Sexual Assault Services of Tompkins County (CVSA) at 277-5000 (formerly Ithaca Rape Crisis); the Victim Advocacy Program, run through the office of the University Omnibudsman (255-1212); and Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service (EARS) (255-3277).

Archived article by Yoni Levine