No arrests in series of sexual assaults at UT Arlington

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by JOBIN PANICKER / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on September 18, 2013 at 8:13 AM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Nearly one month into the university calendar, police at University of Texas at Arlington have their hands full dealing with four alleged sexual assaults.

The university traced three of the four incidents to the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house. The chapter’s president could not be reached for comment.

But the fraternity’s chief executive officer, Brian C. Warren, said the organization “...does not tolerate the type of behavior described in these allegations.”

“It’s just worrying to know it can happen right here,” said student Martina Mapa.

The assaults at the frat house allegedly happened in late August and early September. UT Arlington police said the acts happened on August 23, August 24 and September 7.

The latest incident of rape occurred on September 14 at the Life-Science Building, but police do not believe it is related to the other sexual assaults.

One male student is now on interim suspension, tied only to the September 7 incident where a woman was found unconscious in a residence hall. UT Arlington police have not made any arrests in any of the sexual assaults.

No other details on the rapes were provided because a university spokeswoman said the crimes are still under investigation.

Christine Acebo, a student at UT Arlington, had to read about it online and her friend heard about it in the newspaper. She’s upset the university hasn't been more proactive in alerting her.

“It’s upsetting that it’s not well-known, because I do think people need to have their guards up a little bit,” Acebo said.

A University spokeswoman, Kristin Sullivan, said students have access to daily crime reports, and that these assaults failed to rise to the level of a “life-threatening emergency.”

UT Arlington has come down hard on Greek Row. In a separate investigation, five fraternities — including Sigma Phi Epsilon — are facing interim suspensions after reports of under-age drinking and violating other policies.

“The University is conducting a broad assessment of its policies, operations and compliance related to Greek organizations,” Sullivan said.

The chapters currently suspended are: Sigma Phi Epsilon; Pi Kappa Phi; Sigma Chi; Pi Kappa Alpha; and Alpha Tao Omega.

“I guess they’re trying to show that whenever something bad happens they’re trying to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said student Catarino Oviedo.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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