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President: suspects not part of fraternity


By Jennifer Amsler
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 14, 2005
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The president of the Sigma Pi fraternity said yesterday the rape accusations the University of Arizona Police Department are investigating did not involve any members of the organization, even though it allegedly happened at the fraternity house.

"On behalf of the entire fraternity, I would like to state that the individual(s) involved in this alleged accusation are neither members of the fraternity nor of the greek community," said Joe DiVita, president of Sigma Pi, in the chapter's official statement in an e-mail.

Police are investigating rape allegations reported early Saturday morning at the Sigma Pi fraternity house, 1525 E. Drachman St.

Since the allegations are still under investigation, police could not release information regarding the male suspect's possible status as a fraternity member or a UA student.

DiVita, who is the official fraternity spokesman, said he could not release information about the person or persons under investigation because the chapter is trying to fully cooperate with UAPD.

"A rape allegation must be taken very seriously," DiVita said. "We strive for chivalry in all situations."

DiVita said the fraternity continually invites guest speakers to talk about sexual awareness and issues such as date rape.

Sigma Pi members are cooperating with the UAPD investigation by encouraging witnesses to come forward and asking anyone who was at the fraternity early Saturday morning to reveal any information they might have seen, DiVita said.

He said fraternity members keep an eye on non-members when they are inside the Sigma Pi house, and he could not say if the suspect or suspects were friends with any of the fraternity members or why they were at the house Saturday morning.

"We try to monitor their behavior as much as we can," DiVita said.

DiVita said making sure women feel safe while they are at the house is "probably the most important thing."

Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD spokesman, said reports of on-campus rapes are not common.

"Our biggest problem with students reporting rapes has been off campus," Mejia said.

In 2004, two individuals filed a police report stating they were raped on campus, the fewest in a span of five years. Six individuals reported a rape in 2003, up from five reported cases in 2002, four in 2001 and three in 2000, according to UAPD statistics.

Although police cannot release information because the case is still under investigation, Mejia said it is the department's duty to the university to look into the case as fairly and thoroughly as possible.

"It's extremely important for any investigators to do the best job possible," Mejia said. "It's what we get paid to do."



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