Alleged Rape Victim Files Suit Against DU, MIT for NegligenceBy Zareena Hussain
A woman who alleges she was raped at Delta Upsilon in 1996 has filed suit against both the Institute and the fraternity for negligence.
The suit alleges that the woman, Angela Colt, was served so much alcohol she could not fend off her attacker.
Colt filed suit Monday against MIT, DU's national corporation, and the chapter's alumni association, which owns the house. The suit alleges a "negligent failure to ensure the safety of those lawfully on the premises of MIT's fraternity houses."
Matthew B. Keller '97, the alleged assailant, was also named as a defendant in the case.
Colt, then 17, and a co-worker attended a party at the fraternity on Aug. 2, 1996. Colt's co-worker was a DU brother from another college living at the MIT chapter over the summer, according to The Boston Globe.
The alleged assailant was not a member of the fraternity.
"Matthew Keller was definitely not a brother," said Jeffrey L. Steinheider '99, DUrush chair.
According to the suit, alcohol "was being served indiscriminately to minors including the Plaintiff."
The suit says that no one at the fraternity was checking identification at the door to ensure that those entering the fraternity were old enough to drink. The suit also claims that there "was no responsible oversight of the happenings at the premises by those in a position to control the premises including, but not limited to, MIT" and the other institutional defendants.
Colt reported the incident to the Campus Police four days after the DUparty, according to a statement released by Kenneth D. Campbell of the News Office.
"She expressly told [Campus Police] that she did not want to initiate any action against the man who she said had assaulted her."
The CPs have a policy of not pressing charges if the victim wishes not to.
"Because Ms. Colt asked the MITpolice not to take any steps to help her prosecute the man, MIT Police took no further action on their own," Campbell said.
Before filing suit, there was an attempt to settle out of court, according to Campbell's statement.
"In January, 1998, Ms. Colt's lawyer demanded a substantial sum of money from MIT. MITdeclined to settle the matter because it believes there is no validity to the claim that MITis legally responsible for this incident,"Campbell said.
Victims of rape have the option of withholding their name from any lawsuit. However, Colt decided to use her own name.
"It's her hope that by taking this action, the responsible parties will take steps to protect those in fraternity houses," Colt's lawyer, Jeffrey Beeler, told the Globe.
The house first became aware of the suit filed against DU on Wednesday morning, Steinheider said.
"We haven't been served the official papers for the case," he said.