By Kalyn Story | News Editor
A lawsuit filed Thursday in regard to an alleged rape at an off-campus Phi Delta Theta Fraternity party in March 2016 claims the fraternity was negligent in its distribution of alcohol and its handling of sexual assault.
The suit names the fraternity, the owner of the house where the party took place and six members of the fraternity who were officers at the time.
The suit also names former Baylor student Jacob Walter Anderson, who was president of the fraternity at the time. Anderson was indicted in May 2016 on four counts of sexual assault related to the incident. He was released from McLennan County Jail on a $5,000 bond the following day and is awaiting trial.
The victim, named in the suit as Donna Doe, said a man took her “to a secluded part of the grounds behind a tent in order to get some air, however once away from everyone else attending the party” he sexually assaulted her, according to the arrest affidavit.
Friends soon afterward took her to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center for a sexual assault exam, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said at the time.
The suit alleges the fraternity and its local chapter officers were negligent in allowing Donna Doe to be drugged and in providing alcohol to persons under the age of 21 and “failing to discover, develop and/or implement basic safeguards designed to prevent and/or minimize incidents of sexual assault.”
The suit claims that although Baylor does not allow fraternity houses, the homeowner and the fraternity were aware that this was a “de facto” fraternity house, referred to in the lawsuit as “Phi Delt Ranch,” and was existing in violation of Baylor policy.
The suit, filed by attorneys Jim Dunnam and Chad W. Dunn, says Donna Doe was unable to remain at Baylor and seeks unspecified damages.
Phi Delta Theta suspended its Baylor chapter and removed Anderson after the incident.
Baylor suspended the fraternity “until a thorough investigation into the recent charges against the fraternity for underage drinking and sexual assault is completed.”
Following the incident in 2016 the Phi Delta Theta Texas Lambda chapter at Baylor University responded to the Lariat with the following statement.
“On March 3, 2016, the Phi Delta Theta Texas Lambda chapter at Baylor University was made aware of a sexual assault allegation made against a member of the chapter. The Phi Delta Theta fraternity stands with victims of sexual assault, and does not condone or tolerate any act of sexual assault or violence against women. The chapter advisory board, national office and current chapter members have and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials. The chapter will not comment on any ongoing investigations of current members. This statement must only be reproduced in its entirety.”
The lawsuit says Donna Doe is seeking monetary relief of more than $1 million for physical injury, mental anguish, pain and suffering.