Police Took 28 Calls for Service to Now-shuttered Frat in 5 Years

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, 302 Ridgeland Avenue, at the University of Iowa on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in Iowa City, Iowa. The fraternity's national headquarters suspended the charter of its Iowa Beta chapter over allegations of hazing. All of its members have been expelled from the fraternity. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa City police since 2007 have received 28 calls for service to 302 Ridgeland Ave., the address of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house that was closed earlier this week following hazing allegations and is at the center of a sexual assault investigation.

Some of the calls were for false alarms, lost property or locked vehicles. Four of the calls were investigative in nature, including one at 10 p.m. Sept. 11 following up on a report of a sexual assault at the house.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said the alleged sexual assault occurred on Sept. 8, and it was initially reported from another location. The Sept. 11 call to the fraternity house was a follow up to the original report.

No arrests have been made in that case.

Two of the other calls for investigation at the address came in August 2008. The UI previously received complaints of hazing against the fraternity in 2008 and 2009, and UI spokesman Tom Moore said sanctions were imposed.

Details about what those investigations involved were not immediately available.

Other calls for service to that address include two criminal mischief calls and a report of a burglary. There was a noise complaint issued at that address in March for a “loud party,” and officers arrested an individual there on May 24, 2011, in connection with a criminal mischief and vandalism report, according to police records.

The name of the suspect in that case was not immediately available.
Brotherton on Wednesday did not disclose details about the sexual assault allegations currently being investigated at that address or whether they might be connected to reports of hazing that prompted the national Sigma Alpha headquarters on Monday to close the fraternity.

National fraternity officials said the closing was for hazing and failing to comply with fraternity standards and policies.

About 90 members of the UI chapter have been expelled from the fraternity and have been given 10 days to move out of the house at 302 Ridgeland Ave.

Specifics about the hazing incidents have not been made public, but fraternity officials said suspensions are extremely rare, and a statement from the UI suggests that alcohol was involved.

“The university does not tolerate hazing or unsafe and illegal consumption of alcohol in any of its student organizations,” according to the statement.

UI administrators have said they’re investigating the hazing allegations as well.
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