PKT brother arrested on sexual assault charges

Photo by Brenda Lin

* Editors note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the author of the “rapebait” e-mail provided the victim with alcoholic beverages. He admitted to providing alcohol to an separate, unnamed individual.

Newly recovered records reveal that Caleb Ackermann a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity (PKT) at Tech was arrested on February 24 of this year on charges of sexual assault and spent the night in jail before being released the next day on a $20,000 bond. The arrest follows an incident reported to Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) on January 22 that occurred the night of January 17, 2014. A separate sexual assault was also reported to GTPD against Ackermann on January 28 by a different woman.

The first victim, a student from an Atlanta College (whose name is being withheld to protect the victim’s identity) and girlfriend of a former PKT brother, told GTPD officers that she and Ackermann had sexual intercourse that she did not recall occurring at the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house in his room. According to the incident report, the victim had bruises on her neck, breast, thigh and back. On the advice of GTPD, the young woman went to Grady Hospital to collect medical evidence. However, because of the time that had passed, there could not be an effective examination. Her injuries were cataloged and the clothes she wore that night were sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

GTPD applied for a warrant to recover the text messages sent between the victim and Ackermann the day after the incident. After receiving the records, the officer in charge contacted the Assistant District Attorney who advised that there was probable cause to charge Ackermann with rape. He was booked into Fulton County Jail on February 24 and released on a $20,000 bond the next day. No further actions have been taken by the District Attorney or GTPD, but the case remains open.

PKT was disbanded in March for violating the terms of their suspension given after the so-called “rape bait” email and for exhibiting a “pattern of sexual violence that…suggests a deep-rooted culture within the fraternity that is obscene, indecent and endangers women,” according to the disbandment letter. According to the notification of decision sent to the fraternity by the Office of Student Integrity (OSI), the fraternity was found responsible for violating six sections of the Student Code of Conduct including the underage use of alcohol and a count of a sexually related offense.

Matthew Peterson, author of the so-called “rape bait” email, in the course of GTPD’s related investigation of underage drinking on the night of January 17 admitted to providing an unknown minor, but not the victim, with alcoholic beverages. In the leaked fraternity email, Peterson advised the recipients to make sure that girls at house parties had something to drink and that “if anything ever fails, go get more alcohol.” Among the fraternity’s OSI misconducts was their failure to remove Peterson from the house after the email was credited to him.

According to the first victim’s statement to GTPD, after consuming alcohol provided by several fraternity members, including the suspect, the victim walked over to the couch in Ackermann’s bedroom and lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she reportedly sobbed while saying that “something bad happened to [her].” The people there tried to console her but believed that she was referring to a separate incident that night when a different fraternity member tried to kiss her. The victim stated that her sobbing and statements were not related to that separate incident.

The victim stated that when she later woke up the next morning, she went to Ackermann’s room to ask him if he knew where her hair tie was; he proceeded to search for it in his bed. The victim stated that this action confused her because she did not remember being in his bed. According to the report, she told Ackermann that she did not remember parts of the previous night; he responded that she drank a lot of his bourbon. The victim reported that he began saying “Aww man, I’ve been this asshole before.” The victim stated she did not understand him and left the house.

Later that day, the victim states she received a text message from Ackermann, but she did not recall giving him her number. According to the report, she texted Ackermann asking what happened that night; he responded that they had sex. She stated that they exchanged texts during which he said that she seduced him; she responded that she had no recollection of having sex with him and asked him why he took advantage of her when she was blacked out. She then stated that he tried to convince her that it was her fault and that she should tell her boyfriend.

According to the report, she “stated she informed [Ackermann] that he better not tell anyone of their sexual encounter otherwise she would have him criminally charged with rape and she instructed him to delete all the text messages that [they] were transmitting between each other.”

According to the report, the victim stated that she believed the bourbon the Ackermann provided to her contained a drug such as ecstasy because he was “known to use ecstasy, marijuana and acid” at parties.

According to Ackermann’s statement to GTPD, the victim was flirting with him and rubbing her hands on him. He stated that she made a comment that she had always found him attractive. Ackermann stated that she then laid on the couch and took off her pants, and he proceeded to initiate oral sex on her. He stated that she stated that she “wanted [him] inside of [her]” and she then performed oral sex on him. He stated that they then proceeded to have sex on his lofted bed.

Ackermann stated that she began to act indifferent and that he believed that she was remorseful for cheating on her boyfriend. He stated that she then went back to partying with her friends. According to the report, he then stated that the next day, she asked about their encounter and he stated they had sex.

He stated that around noon they began exchanging heated text messages. He stated that she threatened to charge him with rape if he mentioned the encounter to anyone.  He then stated that he deleted their messages at her request.

A separate woman who attended the same university as the first victim made similar allegation against Ackermann.  GTPD was notified on January 28, 2014, but the incident occurred in November of 2012.  According to the second victim’s statement to police, at the fraternity’s semi-formal, Ackermann provided her with copious amounts of alcohol, and that once she finished one drink “[he] would have another alcoholic beverage ready.”

The second victim told police that she had met with the first victim who told her about her incident with  Ackermann. The second victim later told GTPD that she did not want to criminally charge Ackermann and only wanted her statement to corroborate the first victim’s story. Although the second’s victim’s case is closed, the first victim’s case is still an active GTPD investigation.