Civil suits brought against Phi Gamma Delta

Photo by Ally Stone

The Gamma Tau Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, sometimes known as FIJI, is facing separate civil suits from two women who claim that they were drugged and sexually assaulted by members of the fraternity in the spring of 2012. Both women are Georgia State University (GSU) students, suing the fraternity, the fraternity’s national organization and ten unnamed fraternity members, among others.

The first plaintiff, represented by David S Fried, is suing after the events of an exclusive mixer between the Fraternity and the plaintiff’s sorority on April 19, 2012.

The mixer was a part of the national organization and the fraternity’s annual “Islander Week” during which chapters around the country raise money for charity and party with different sororities each night of the week. The week serves to highlight the activities of the national organization and the fraternity and increase awareness of the organization to the student body and potential future members. The decorations, food and beverages, including alcohol, that are served at no charge, are paid for by the fraternity and individual members of the fraternity.

The suit alleges that the plaintiff entered the party sober at approximately 11:00 p.m. and was directed to the back of the house where she met up with some friends and saw some attendees being served alcoholic beverages.

The plaintiff was handed a drink by a fraternity member about 15 minutes after entering the party and blacked out about 20 minutes after that. According to the lawsuit, “that drink was the only thing [the] plaintiff consumed at the party.”

The plaintiff awoke at approximately 8:00 a.m. the next morning on a couch in the common area of the fraternity’s house, according to the suit. She was partially nude and her shoes, shirt and bra were in a pile on the floor next to her. Allegedly, after returning home her roommates inspected her body and found writing all over it, including fraternity letters and other vulgar and sexually suggestive comments on the plaintiff’s chest, arms, abdomen and back. The lawsuit claims that after calling her mother, the plaintiff went to Grady Hospital where she was administered an rape kit which returned negative results.

According to the suit, “the events which transpired between the time when plaintiff was served an alcoholic beverage and the time she awoke nude and drawn upon were not, and could not have been, consented to by [the] plaintiff as [the] plaintiff was under the influence of a controlled substance which had been slipped into her drink.”

The lawsuit brings up multiple counts against 10 unnamed John Does, including negligence, negligence per se and gross negligence; battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

One month after the incident, an arrest was made at the fraternity house for furnishing alcohol to people under 21 years of age, according to the GTPD crime log. The Technique requested the incident report from GT Communications, but had not received the information at the time of publication.

According Atlanta’s 11 Alive News, the second plaintiff is a female GSU student, also represented by Fried, who was invited to join fraternity members on their “formal” trip to New Orleans in May of 2012, just weeks after the first alleged incident.

The lawsuit claims that fraternity members, many of which were under 21, “drank alcohol, smoked marijuana and consumed other illicit drugs,” during the bus trip to New Orleans and on a chartered boat once there.

According to MyFoxAtlanta, the lawsuit states that at an afterparty in a hotel room, the plaintiff was given a drink that was laced and she then blacked out. She woke up to find a member of the fraternity having non-consensual sexual intercourse with her. Upon waking up the next morning, she claims she found a “morning after” pill box beside her. The suit also claims she suffered injuries and was sick on the return trip.

In the suit, the plaintiff said she told two friends once she returned to Atlanta and went to GPTD who told her to, “make her report to the New Orleans Police because that is where the acts took place.”

According to 11 Alive, the suit says she did report the incident to the New Orleans Police and, as far as she knows, the investigation is still open.

On Oct. 18, 2013, another strong arm rape was reported at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, but prosecution in that case was declined according to the GTPD crime log.

“We take very seriously any allegations of misconduct by our members. Because this is now a matter of litigation, we are not able to comment further,” said the President of FIJI’s Gamma Tau Chapter.

“Georgia Tech Police Department conducted a full investigation of the incident. Since this is a civil matter and Georgia Tech is not a party to the lawsuit, it is not appropriate for us to comment on matters soon to appear before the court,” said Matt Nagel, Director of Media Relations and spokesperson for Tech in this matter.

The National Phi Gamma Tau Fraternity declined comment.

The Georgia Tech Office of Greek Affairs also declined to comment.