Two Students File Lawsuit Over Alleged Gang-Rape

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Two female UC Berkeley students who allege they were gang-raped by a group of San Diego State University rugby players filed suit against the university, its team and the Southside bar where they met their alleged attackers.

Raleigh's American Pub & Grill, San Diego State University and its rugby team were all named in the suit that was filed earlier this week at Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland.

The suit alleges all of the defendants behaved negligently, and that their behavior resulted in the rapes.

The suit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages, alleges that on April 20, 2001 the plaintiffs were gang-raped by six members of the rugby team at the Ramada Inn in Berkeley after meeting two other players at Raleigh's.

Berkeley police investigated the allegations, but Alameda County District Attorney's office declined the pursue the case because of insufficient evidence, said Berkeley police Sgt. Kay Lantow, supervisor of the sex crimes unit.

The suit claims the two women, both under 21 years of age at the time, were served alcoholic drinks at the bar even though bar staffers knew they were underage. The

plaintiffs became very intoxicated, which played a direct role in their rape, according to papers filed in court.

At the bar, the plaintiffs met two of the rugby players and agreed to go to their hotel room where they had sex, the suit alleges.

During the sexual activities six other rugby team members entered the hotel room and also engaged in sexual acts with the plaintiffs, the suit charges.

The suit charges the two UC Berkeley students did not consent to the activities because of their intoxication. It also states the two women tried to escape, but were restrained.

The suit claims the rugby coaches were aware of the gang-rape at the time.

The incident ended after a coach walked in and said, "Ok, ladies, the party is over," according to the suit, which also alleges team coaches knew some players had "engaged in prior serious misconduct."

An employee at Raleigh's said the bar has yet to be served the suit, and would not comment on it. She said claims are being considered unsubstantiated until the bar is served.

The bar's owner could not be reached for comment.

Attorneys with the Associated Students of San Diego State University, which oversees the college's sports clubs, are reviewing the suit, said the association's Executive Director Dan Cornthwaite.

After the alleged gang-rape was investigated by the association, the rugby team was placed on probation and its head coach was fired, Cornthwaite said.

"We've acknowledged there was conduct that was contradictory to the standards and values we have at San Diego State University," he said, though he would not say if officials believe any criminal acts occurred.

Members of the team were required to write a letter of apology to San Diego State and pay back legal fees incurred as a result of last year's investigation, he said.

The rugby players also had to undergo sensitivity training, he said.

Lantow, who said she believes the rape occurred, traveled to San Diego as part of the several-month investigation but still could not get enough evidence to prosecute the case.

The two women, she said, were unable to identify specific perpetrators because of a combination of their intoxication, poor lighting and the large number of perpetrators.


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