Assault case reported

The Butler University Police Department is investigating a woman’s allegation that she may have been drugged while at a Dec. 2 party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

The woman, whose name was not released by police upon her request, first made the allegation to BUPD March 8.  She is not certain her drink was spiked.

“It probably occurred here if something happened,” Hunter said.

After it was ordered to stop operations in the fall, the fraternity could come under renewed scrutiny if the latest allegation has weight.

“If evidence bears out one particular location on campus is an issue, then student affairs will deal with it,” said Ben Hunter, chief of staff.

There is a suspect in the case who is known by the victim and who has been identified to police, according to BUPD’s case log.

Hunter said it is possible that Detective Bruce Allee, head of the investigation, has narrowed the search to one person.

Allee said the investigation is ongoing.

“He’ll either close it out if it’s unfounded, or he’ll leave it open and continue to investigate,” Hunter said.

The university hit Phi Kappa Psi with a cease-and-desist order following an alleged sexual assault that is said to have occurred on its property in September.  That case is still under investigation.

Dean of Student Life Irene Stevens, citing university privacy policy, did not disclose whether the fraternity remains under sanction.

“Phi Psi should not have had a party on December 2,” Stevens said.  “Conduct probation typically [means] no parties.”

Under state law, the act of slipping a drug into a person’s drink is assault.  BUPD has listed the alleged act as battery with bodily injury.

Hunter said the case is difficult to investigate.

“We don’t have the drink,” he said.  “We didn’t have a whole lot to go off.  We’ll look at it and see what we can do to move it forward.”

More than three months passed between the time the woman believes her drink was spiked and the first report to police.  Hunter said he didn’t expect that to hinder the investigation.

“At some point, like two years from now, it does lose its ability to go back and be pieced together,” he said.  “December, I don’t know that that’s such a huge hurdle.”

Phi Kappa Psi president Ryan Medas did not respond to a request for comment.  Individual members, citing fraternity policy, declined comment on Phi Kappa Psi’s standing with Butler.

“Probation typically lasts longer than a couple months,” Stevens said.

Hunter said he was not aware of any similar reports stemming from the night of Dec. 2 or from Phi Kappa Psi in general.

Stevens said her office will wait for BUPD to complete its investigation before reaching any decision on potential discipline, which could apply to an individual, to a Greek house or to both.

“We always take past behavior and past sanctions into account, whether it be individual or group,” Stevens said.  “Sanctions will be more stringent on the second and third violation.”

It is possible the case could be presented to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, though Hunter said criminal charges are unlikely.

“It’s going to be difficult to go that route because you don’t have evidence,” he said.

University discipline, Hunter said, is possible if the allegation is found to be true.

The victim has the option to ask student affairs to pursue university conduct charges.  Stevens, who oversees all conduct outside Butler’s residence halls, would then determine whether to charge a student or an organization with a violation.

In his fourth year at Butler, Hunter said spiked drinks have not been an issue during his tenure.

“If it is, it’s not getting reported,” he said.  “If this is occurring in our community, it’s disappointing, to say the least.  We want people to report them to us.”

Stevens said students should keep drinks in closed containers and avoid leaving them unattended.

Allee said they should realize drugs like Rohypnol, commonly called roofies, could appear at just about any location.

“We know they’re out there,” he said.  “We don’t know if they’re pervasive. It’s much more of a hazard away from school than it is here.”

Allee said the drugs severely slow respiration and could even prove fatal if the person does not get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

There is no timeline for BUPD’s investigation.


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