New details in College of Charleston fraternity sexual assault

In a supplemental report released by Charleston Police Department, there is more information about how an alleged sexual assault at a College of Charleston fraternity party unfolded. The report says the party was for the fraternity’s “Bid Day”. Police say this was the victim’s third party of the day, and when she arrived at the party for Alpha Epsilon Pi, she was separated from her friends and given alcohol and cocaine. The details of what unfolded in the bedroom of that house is redacted from the report, but one witness says the victim said she had been in the room with “some kid”, he started taking her clothes “off one minute” and she “started saying no.” Police say they found four sexually explicit photos on one suspect’s phone.

1/5 women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. A sexual assault report recently surfaced at the College of Charleston. Police say a 17-year-old was raped at a fraternity party by two men. Both Timothy Seppi and James West III have been arrested, and the fraternity suspended.

News 2 looked up the most recent numbers for the sexual assault cases at C of C. Only data from before 2015 was available. In 2012, there were 10, in 2013, three, and in 2014, 13 reports of forcible sex offenses. Students on C of C’s campus today told News 2 the news of the sex assault at the fraternity party is cause for concern.

Student Kassidy Sullivan says, “It made me pretty nervous, I hope that doesn’t happen again”.

Some other girls say they still feel safe on campus.

Another student, Caroline Greenblatt, says, “I’m trained in self defense, so that’s something that I always have with me. But as far as it goes I think this is an isolated incident.”

The College of Charleston has multiple sexual assault prevention programs in place, including a new one this year called GIVE (Gender Based & Interpersonal Violence Education). It is led by students and focuses less on the victim and more on the root of the problem.

College of Charleston Coordination of Prevention Education Initiatives, Alison Berk, says, “Where colleges and culture have ultimately not done such a great job is talking to potential perpetrators and addressing the attitudes and beliefs that cause sexual assault to happen. Like, you are not entitled to someone else’s body, they have to say yes for you to have sex with them, the absence of a no does not mean yes.”

In the recent sexual assault allegation, police reports say both the victim and suspects were using drugs and alcohol during the party. College of Charleston address that too in their programs.

Berk says, “Part of our definition is consent is sober, and that’s kind of the end of it. Often we have a conversation, what if both people were drunk? If both people are drunk then neither can give consent. It doesn’t mean that both can give consent and that’s a conversation we have.”

C of C students say they are well informed and are looking out for their friends.

Greenblatt says, “If you’re going out, make sure you have someone with you who can help you out.”

Sullivan says, “Me and my friends, we stay together in groups. We don’t really go anywhere by ourselves and we have each other’s backs.”

Another student, Jonathan Graham, says, “I’m an older brother, so I always kind of have this protective mentality, like I’m watching out for people. So it’s in the forefront of their minds as victims of those types of things, but I’m also concerned about it as hopefully being able to stop something like that.”

For more information about College of Charleston’s sexual assault prevention resources, click here.

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