UPD investigates rape accusation

The Kappa Sigma house on Fraternity Row at The University of Southern Mississippi. Christopher Little/Printz
The Kappa Sigma house on Fraternity Row at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Christopher Little/Printz

A University of Southern Mississippi student has reported being forcibly raped, according to a report filed with university police. The report, filed Oct. 15, states the incident occurred Sunday, Oct. 13 in the Kappa Sigma house on Fraternity Row.

“She came to us several days after the incident and reported it to us,” said UPD Chief of Police Bob Hopkins.

He said the suspect and the woman, a USM freshman, were both over 18. He said the incident was considered an acquaintance assault, and he did not believe it was alcohol related. Hopkins did not comment on whether or not the suspect was a member of Kappa Sigma.

“We’re going to have a conversation with her to discuss what we have learned and what she wanted to do, and which direction to go for her,” Hopkins said, adding the investigation is ongoing.

Kappa Sigma Epsilon Nu president Ryan Hershberger said a faculty member notified him when the report was filed. When asked who the faculty member was, he declined to comment.

“We don’t have enough information about it that I can say anything about it,” Hershberger said. “They [UPD] don’t give us any information. It’s pretty controlled as far as authorities go.”

Hershberger said he hasn’t been questioned by authorities, but would cooperate if asked.

“Any information that I would know then I would give them,” he said. “But if I’m not called to do that then they have what they need.”

Executive Director of Kappa Sigma Fraternity Mic Wilson said the fraternity’s national headquarters were not notified about the incident, but they would investigate before any sanctions would be made.

“Each situation is different but we would investigate, so we would cooperate with local officials, and depending on whether or not the situation is centered around an individual chapter member or the chapter as a whole… We always investigate the matters once we get in touch with law enforcement officials,” he said.

According to UPD, university officials have been notified. The Vice President of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students did not immediately return phone calls.

Hopkins said this is the first reported rape accusation this year and the investigation should be completed within the next few days.

According to the Office of Greek Life’s website, the Epsilon Nu chapter of Kappa Sigma recolonized on campus in 2011.

According to the Hattiesburg American, the university revoked the chapter’s charter, and the house was closed one week after an alcohol-related hazing incident occurred during a Little Sister initiation event in 2008.
The chapter moved back into its house on Fraternity Row in 2012.