USC frat placed on suspension after reports of sexual assault, drugging

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A fraternity at the University of Southern California is on interim suspension after a report of sexual assault at their house, along with several more reports of drugs being placed into women’s drinks during a party the same night.

The university received a report of sexual assault at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, located at 660 W. 28th Street, a crime alert issued Thursday says.

The student reported that she was sexually assaulted after someone drugged her while she was attending a party at the frat on Sept. 27, according to an incident log from USC’s Department of Public Safety.

USC also received reports of drugs being placed into drinks during a party at the same fraternity house, leading to possible drug-facilitated sexual assaults, the university said. The incident log shows five women reported being drugged at the frat that night, with a sixth woman reporting a drugging that night without disclosing the location.

The fraternity has since been placed on interim suspension, the crime alert states, and it may not host or organize any activities, parties, or social gatherings at the Sigma Nu house.

The university said it has reported the information to the Los Angeles Police Department. 

On Friday, LAPD Officer Rosario Cervantes identified the suspect in the sexual assault as Ryan Schiffilea.

As of Friday night, Schiffilea has not been arrested or charged.

Sigma Nu’s national headquarters received notice from USC Thursday, “alleging violations and misconduct,” according to a statement from its director of communications, Christopher Brenton.

“The Fraternity is concerned by these serious allegations and will seek to work with University officials to investigate the matter,” the statement reads. “The Fraternity will determine its further actions based upon the investigation. Sigma Nu Fraternity remains committed to responding appropriately to all matters of confirmed misconduct.”

USC’s Interfraternity Council released a statement Friday in which the group said it was “disturbed and angered” by the allegations.

“We are disgusted this violence took place in our community,” the statement read. “There is no place for this abhorrent misconduct nor a culture that supports it in the Interfraternity Council community at the University of Southern California or anywhere.”

Students gathered outside the frat house Thursday and Friday nights, putting up posters and demanding accountability.

“So much of how frat parties function — of how this culture functions — puts women at a disadvantage; puts women in vulnerable positions, in positions where it’s easy for this to happen and it’s hard for women to defend themselves,” sophomore Sophie Beitel said.

“Guys in this house knew about it. Guys who weren’t participating knew about this. This had to be a thing that so many men were complicit in and said nothing about,” she added. “The question should not be, ‘What can girls do to be avoiding this?’ Girls are already terrified. Girls already do everything they can. What can guys be doing?”

The school said it encourages any individual who may have relevant information to immediately call the USC Department of Public Safety at 213-740-6000 for the University Park Campus, or 323-442-1000 for the Health Sciences Campus, or 213-485-6571 for the LAPD. 

USC also has a 24-hour Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services hotline at 213-740-4900, for medical resources, emotional support and advocacy.

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