Woman files $1 million sexual assault suit against man, UTC fraternity

The Pi Kappa Alpha house in Chattanooga is shown in this file photo.

A woman is suing a Tennessee man and several branches of Pi Kappa Alpha for $1 million, saying she was raped at the fraternity's University of Tennessee at Chattanooga house in April, according to a federal lawsuit.

The woman, whose name is not listed, said in the lawsuit she attended a party with the man, then a member of the fraternity's UTC chapter. She was a college student in Alabama and was good friends with the man's former girlfriend, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday.

Because the man has not been criminally charged, according to UTC spokesman Chuck Cantrell, the Times Free Press is not publishing his name. It also is Times Free Press policy not to publish the names of alleged victims of sex crimes.

According to the lawsuit, the man sent a text message to his ex-girlfriend before the party claiming he was going to have sex with her friend. He had a pledge in the fraternity drive them to the party, offering her whiskey on the ride, which she repeatedly declined, according to the suit.

At the fraternity house, the man and other fraternity members forced her to drink alcohol, the lawsuit contends. Fraternity members circled around the couple, chanting derogatory sexual comments. At some point the man took the woman into a bathroom and sexually assaulted her, breaking one of her teeth in the process, the lawsuit states.

photo The Pi Kappa Alpha house in Chattanooga is shown in this file photo.

Afterward, the man and the pledge took the woman to a dorm room and put her in bed, where she vomited from alcohol consumption and passed out, the suit states. The man took a picture of her and sent it to his ex-girlfriend, bragging that he'd had sex with her, "and it was great," according to the suit.

The woman woke and called a friend who drove her back to college the next morning, according to the suit.

"Ultimately, the criminal justice system has yet to punish (the man), in part because of what appears to be an inadequate response by police in Chattanooga," the lawsuit states. "For reasons unknown, it appears that corroborating evidence may not have been presented to the authorities, including a 'rape kit' and witness statements."

Cantrell, who also speaks for campus police, could not confirm whether there was an active investigation into the alleged rape. The man's name does not appear in county criminal records.

This is not the first sexual assault case to gain traction at UTC.

A female student reported to police in August that she was raped after drinking alcohol in an on-campus apartment. As of Friday, the investigation remains open, Cantrell said.

And in April 2014, a UTC student accused Corey Mock, the nationally ranked wrestler, of sexually assaulting her. Mock was found not responsible but was expelled in December. He returned to campus in mid-January after a Davidson County chancellor issued a temporary injunction allowing him to take spring-semester classes until a final ruling. And in August, the chancellor ruled Mock never should have been expelled because the school didn't provide evidence that he had sex with the woman without her consent.

This lawsuit, filed in the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville, says the woman will continue to suffer mental anguish, medical treatment and physical pain and suffering as a result of the man's behavior.

Earlier this week, WRCB-TV Channel 3 quoted one of the defendants, Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, which said, "it is clear there are factual misrepresentations regarding the Fraternity, Chapter, and House Corporation," in a released statement.

"Upon learning of this action," the statement reads, "the International Fraternity has turned this matter over to its legal advisors and will not discuss details of pending litigation."

Contact Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com. Follow @zackpeterson918.