Tag Archives: Jane Doe

Beta Lawyers Argue Sexual Assault Survivor Should Not Be Granted Anonymity in Federal Lawsuit

wes-beta

This past October, a former Wesleyan student filed a lawsuit against the University. The student, who has used the pseudonym Jane Doe in court proceedings to maintain her anonymity, says that she was raped in a locked room during the fraternity’s 2010 Halloween party by John O’Neill, 21, of Yorktown, NY. O’Neill was a guest of the fraternity and not a Wesleyan student. He was charged with first-degree sexual assault, pleaded no contest to lesser charges of third-degree assault and first-degree unlawful restraint a little over a year ago, and is now serving a 15-month prison sentence, from which he will be released next month.

According to The Hartford Courant, “The woman’s lawsuit, filed last October, charges Wesleyan with violating Title IX, the federal gender-equity law, by failing “to supervise, discipline, warn or take other corrective action” against the fraternity, actions that it says could have prevented the assault.” Wesleyan warned students in an email in March 2010 to avoid Beta due to safety concerns. Jane Doe says that, as she was not aware of that warning, she went to the frat’s Halloween party, where she was raped.

Fast-forward to the present. Lawyers for the Wesleyan chapter of Beta Theta Pi (which is also a defendant in the case) filed papers this week arguing that Jane Doe should not be able to use the pseudonym in the federal lawsuit. The Hartford Courant summarizes their motion as follows:

Lawyers for the Mu Epsilon chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Wesleyan said the woman should not be allowed to proceed with her lawsuit under the pseudonym “Jane Doe” because “it allows her to make defamatory statements against” the fraternity and Wesleyan “behind a cloak of anonymity,” according to a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. 

News Coverage Round-up: Former Student Files Lawsuit

If you have no idea what I’m referring to then you might want to read this first. Or this. Or this, or this, or this. Also this. And maybe this, too.

Anyway, the point: this story has been getting a good deal of news coverage, all the way from Wesleying and The Argus, to the Hartford Courant, to HuffPost, Salon, and more. In addition to this post on the coverage, keep an eye out for a more substantive post from pyrotechnics this weekend. Round-up with brief sketches of coverage below:

BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is the first source to challenge some of the contentions of the lawsuit, in particular the campus identity of Beta Theta Pi as a “Rape Factory.” BuzzFeed contacted several current and former students, including our very own Zach, to inquire after the use of this particular term around campus. Some commenters on our earlier piece questioned its use, as did many quoted in the BuzzFeed article, but most do note a stigma around Beta that isn’t exactly positive. All in all, BuzzFeed seems to have done some proper research before writing, taking the time to discuss Beta’s historical image, Beta’s relationship with the University, and some of the confusion surrounding events of the 2010-2011 academic year.