They were not. Yes, there undoubtedly would have been a cost to resending the e-mail: more angry Beta parents, fraternity discontent, pressure from Beta alumni and the national organization. University trepidation and fraternity intransigence were about to produce a tort case. Its plaintiff: a young woman known to us as Jane Doe-18 years old, freshly arrived at Wesleyan from her home in Maryland, as eager as any other new student to experience the excitement of college life.
During Halloween weekend, Jane Doe got dressed up and went out with some of her friends to sample the student parties on and around campus. “I didn’t have any alcohol to drink all night,” she later told a police investigator in a sworn statement. “I usually don’t drink, and I hang out with people who don’t drink either.” At the Beta house, she was “immediately spotted by this guy” who did not introduce himself but started dancing with her. “I was happy that someone was dancing with me,” she told the policeman, “because I got all dressed up.” The man she was dancing with would turn out not to be a Beta member or even a Wesleyan student at all. His name was John O’Neill, and he was the ne’er-do-well high-school-lacrosse teammate of one of the Beta brothers. O’Neill lived in his mother’s basement and, according to a Yorktown, New York, police detective, had been arrested for selling pot out of an ice-cream truck earlier that year. That wild fraternity houses are often attractive party locations for unsavory characters is a grim reality. After O’Neill had danced with Jane Doe for about 30 minutes, half a dozen of his pals came over (dressed, as he was, in Halloween costumes consisting of old soccer uniforms) and asked him whether he wanted to smoke some pot upstairs. Jane agreed to go along, although she had no plans to smoke. He put his arm around her, which was fine with her, and she slipped off her shoes because her feet hurt.
She struggled, and bit his penis
The group then moved to a second room, where the men continued smoking. When the other men had finished smoking, they got up to leave, and Jane, too, stood up and began putting on her shoes, preparing to follow them out, but O’Neill closed the bedroom door and locked it. “What’s up?” she asked. He began kissing her, which she at first submitted to, but then pulled away. “He probably thought that I wanted to hook up with him, but I didn’t,” she reported. She started for the door again, but he grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her down onto the couch. “What are you doing?” she cried. “Stop it.”
The group arranged itself in a small bedroom, with Jane sitting next to O’Neill on a couch
According to the victim’s sworn statement, here’s what happened next. O’Neill got on top of Jane, straddling her chest and shoulders so she couldn’t move; pulled down his shorts; and shoved his penis into her mouth. He slapped her and called her a bitch. Then he pulled up her dress, yanked off her tights, and forced his penis into her vagina. “The more you try, the faster you are going to get out of here,” he said, and covered her mouth with his hand so she couldn’t scream for help. Some 10 minutes later, it was over. Jane pulled on her tights and ran downstairs and out of the fraternity house. On the street, hysterical, she ran into a male friend and asked him to walk her back to why not try here her dorm. Inside, she found a girlfriend who comforted her, staying nearby while she showered, giving her cookies, reading to her until she fell asleep. Following some spectacular bungling on Wesleyan’s part (for instance, no one was at Health Services to help her, because it was a weekend), Jane went to the health center on Monday, then to two deans and eventually, after her parents and brother strongly encouraged her to do so, to the police. The criminal-justice system began its swift, efficient process, resulting in O’Neill’s conviction. (He was initially charged with first-degree sexual assault and first-degree imprisonment, but eventually pleaded no contest to lesser charges of third-degree assault and first-degree imprisonment. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison.)