• Former Rhodes student sues college, SAE after allegeded sexual assault

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Rhodes College and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity are facing another lawsuit.

    A former female student is suing the Memphis College, the fraternity and some of its members after she was allegedly sexual assaulted almost nine months ago.

    Memphis police investigated the rape in February 2019 and two SAE fraternity members were expelled this past spring for their connection to the assault allegations.

    In the lawsuit, a woman known as Jane Doe claims during a Valentine's Day formal hosted by SAE on Rhodes College campus, she was sexually assaulted by one of its members who's listed as John Smith in the complaint.

    Doe claims the assault happened after she passed out from drinking.


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    Doe said she "felt her body bruised and sore because of the assault on her body by Smith and others.

    She experienced excruciating physical pain which continued for days after she was assaulted. Her body was visibly sore and bruised for several days after the sexual assault."

    In the complaint, Doe said Rhodes College knew or should have known about the fraternity's history of alcohol abuse and illegal drugs.

    She said the college "does nothing to mitigate these hazards."

    In a statement to FOX13, Rhodes College released the following statement: "The college recognizes the courage it takes for victims of sexual assault to come forward. Rhodes is committed to approaching the legal process with as much sensitivity and care as possible while defending itself against the claims asserted against the college in the complaint."

    Since the assault, Doe said she has flashbacks and a therapist has diagnosed her with PTSD.

    Doe is suing all the defendants for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and additionally she's suing John Smith and the other unnamed defendants for assault and battery. 

    "The allegation that he has done anything to her, not only does he deny it," said Brice Timmons, attorney for John Smith. "But we point out that we've had two hearings in federal court, and we've been able to demonstrate that there's been very little evidence if any evidence really no evidence that he did anything at all 

    Related: Rhodes College levies second sexual assault allegation against former student

    Jane Doe is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. 

    FOX13 reached out her attorney who said they have no comment at this time since "the complaint speaks for itself."

    Earlier this year, the two SAE fraternity members who were expelled in the spring filed their lawsuits against Rhodes College.

    They have both settled their respective cases.

    FOX13 also reached out to SAE for a comment, but we haven't heard back. 

    Currently, the SAE chapter at Rhodes College is suspended and has been since February 2019.

    Related: Fraternity suspended after sexual assault claim at Rhodes College

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