SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Two fraternities at Utah State University have been sanctioned amid a pair of sexual assault cases as authorities investigate a separate alleged rape at a branch campus, a spokesman for the institution said Thursday.
Sigma Chi and Pi Kappa Alpha have been barred from having alcohol in their houses or recruiting new students on the Logan campus in northern Utah for a year, said Utah State University spokesman Tim Vitale.
The student-run Greek Council leveled the sanctions after administrators urged the committee to address the issue.
“It’s time to step up and take a proactive stance on this and try to get something done,” said Vitale. “We’re out of patience.”
Brian Speckhard, president of the Interfraternity Council at USU, declined to comment on the sanctions.
The action came in late August after the arrest of Jason Relopez, 27. Two women testified that he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity when he assaulted them.
One 19-year-old woman testified during an evidence hearing that he raped her multiple times in July. The other woman, age 20, said she had been doing homework with Relopez when they started making out. She said she told him she didn’t want to have sex but he raped her.
Relopez has since been expelled from the fraternity house, police said. He’s set to face trial on charges of rape and sexual assault in February. His lawyer, Shannon Demler, contends the encounters with both women were consensual.
The allegations came months after onetime Pi Kappa Alpha President Ryan Wray, 26, was accused of inappropriately touching a woman who passed out at a fraternity party just before spring break, while he was assigned to keep watch over partygoers who couldn’t take care of themselves.
He was charged with forcible sexual abuse. Wray also has been expelled from the organization, and the fraternity voluntarily suspended itself but has since resumed activities.
Demler, who also represents Wray, has said he is working with prosecutors on a possible plea deal. He is expected back in court Oct. 26.
Wray has been suspended from the university for two years but has already completed his course work for a degree and moved back to Idaho, Demler said.
Utah State is located in Logan, about 85 miles north of Salt Lake City.
Meanwhile, 200 miles away at USU Eastern in Price, police are investigating a report that a woman was assaulted Sept. 3. Two male basketball players and one female player believed to be connected with the incident have been suspended from their teams as the probe unfolds, Vitale said.
No one has been arrested and a police report is expected early next week. The reported victim told the Deseret News she blacked out after drinking what appeared to be juice from a friend’s cup. She awoke the next morning with serious injuries consistent with assault, the newspaper reported.
The Associated Press does not normally identify people who report they were a victim of sexual assault.
This story has been corrected to show the name of one sanctioned fraternity is spelled Pi Kappa Alpha, not Phi Kappa Alpha.