SAE awaits rape response
By Andrea Lamberti
Neither MIT nor the national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon have taken action against the MIT chapter of SAE in connection with the charges of rape facing Thomas M. Fahy '91. On Dec. 9., an MIT sophomore reported to the police that she was raped at the SAE house. "Boston Police subsequently arrested Thomas Fahy," the police report said.
MIT would not take action against an individual prior to a decision by the courts, said Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey. "That [does] not preclude us from taking any action vis-a-vis the fraternity," he said.
However, no information regarding possible sanctions against the fraternity has been released.
The national will not take any action against the fraternity "until we do [an] investigation" said Scott Barrier, consultant to the SAE national. "Right now, we'd really like to get as much information as possible." Barrier would not comment on whether or not the national was planning an investigation, or who would conduct such an investigation.
Additionally, the national will wait for decisions by the courts and by MIT before taking any action against Fahy, Barrier said.
The national has been working with Neal H. Dorow, advisor to fraternities and independent living groups. The national "got all [of its] information from [Dorow]," Barrier said. The Dean's Office has been meeting with representatives of the fraternity to discuss the incident, Dorow said.
Cases involving other chapters of the nationwide fraternity would not necessarily serve as a precedent to guide the handling of this case, Barrier said. Each case is evaluated individually, he added.
Fahy did not return repeated telephone calls made over the past week and could not be reached for comment. SAE President Mark E. Lundstrom '91 was out of town and also could not be reached for comment.
Alleged rape occurred
at Christmas party
The alleged rape occurred Dec. 8, the night of the SAE Christmas party at the fraternity's Beacon St. house. The alleged victim attended the party with a member of the fraternity, and became drunk after her date, who was not Fahy, became "very drunk and . . . passed out," according to an anonymous source who is a close friend of the woman.
The following day, the "victim reported the incident to the MIT police, who then notified the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit," the police report said.
The Boston Police "subsequently arrested" Fahy, according to the police report. He is scheduled for a hearing in Boston Municipal Court on Feb. 15.
Rape is defined as "Having sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person and compelling such person to submit by force and against his will, or compelling such person to submit by threat of bodily injury," according to Massachusetts state law. It is a felony.
Under state law, intercourse is considered to be committed against a person's will if the person is unconscious, asleep, drugged, intoxicated or otherwise mentally deficient and cannot agree to intercourse, according to MIT Campus Police literature.
Diminished capacity resulting from the voluntary use of alcohol is not a defense to rape, a Massachusetts appellate court ruled in 1980.
Second acquaintance rape
reported in 1990
The alleged rape at SAE was the second rape reported to the Campus Police in 1990, according to Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin.
The first alleged acquaintance rape, which occurred in a campus dormitory, was reported in early September. It also involved alcohol, the dormitory housemaster said at the time. Charges were not filed in that case.
Glavin would not comment on any aspect of the cases.
Prior to 1989, when one incident of acquaintance rape was reported to the Campus Police, all the reported incidents of rape were stranger rape, Glavin said.
"It's hard to say" if there has been a rise in the instances of acquaintance rape for MIT students, Glavin said. "It's one of the most underreported crimes there is."
"I think we're at the point where people are more comfortable about coming forward. My own judgment is that it [acquaintance rape] has always been there, people are just starting to report it more," Glavin said.
The increase in reporting cases of acquaintance rape is most likely due to several factors, Glavin explained. Services for rape victims, including services at police departments, hospitals and rape crisis units, have improved. Heightened awareness of acquaintance rape, and the fact that it is a crime, have also contributed to the increases in reports, Glavin said.
The present case involving Fahy would not necessarily lead to more incidents being reported, Glavin said. "Based on viewpoints that I've heard, . . . my personal view is that [public report on acquaintance rape] would tend to discourage [victims]," she said. "They're often very concerned about confidentiality."