Charges dropped against Phi Gamma Delta member arrested on suspicion of sexual assault

Sarina Kernberg/Staff

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Update 4/29/16: This article has been updated to reflect new information from the UC Berkeley chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. 

Update 04/29/2016: The charges against the member of Phi Gamma Delta were dropped one day after he was arrested.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges Friday against a member of Phi Gamma Delta one day after he was arrested in conjunction with a sexual assault investigation, according to a statement from the UC Berkeley chapter of Phi Gamma Delta.

The investigation, led by the Berkeley Police Department, was in response to a report of a sexual assault that allegedly took place Feb. 19 inside the fraternity house.

According to the statement, the victim alleged that she was drugged and sexually assaulted at a party at the fraternity, but the chapter may have documentation showing that the house did not throw a party on that date.

The 20-year-old male suspect was arrested outside of the Phi Gamma Delta house at 2395 Piedmont Ave., where he was reported to be living. According to BPD spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Frankel, there were no other suspects in the case.

The suspect was booked at Berkeley Jail on Thursday and his bail was set at $100,000.

“The members of Phi Gamma Delta take seriously the safety of our fellow students and particularly allegations of sexual assault,” said Fisher Johnson, president of the UC Berkeley chapter of the fraternity, in a statement Friday regarding the original charges. “The legal process has been set in motion to address this charge involving one of our members, and we will cooperate fully with the authorities if called upon.”

The national branch of Phi Gamma Delta could not be reached as of press time.

Phi Gamma Delta, commonly referred to as Fiji, lost its recognition from the Interfraternity Council and the campus in spring 2014, according to Daniel Saedi, president of UC Berkeley’s IFC.

In February 2015, the Panhellenic Council lifted some restrictions on disaffiliated fraternities. Previously, it forbade members from participating in any “social activity” on their properties, including the consumption of alcohol.

The restrictions were initially enacted after five individuals reported that they were drugged with “roofies” and sexually assaulted at the unaffiliated fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon in November 2014.

Eleven fraternities and seven sororities are listed as unrecognized Greek organizations on the campus website, which states that students are “counseled against joining these groups.”

Frankel said he is unaware of any other sexual assault investigations regarding UC Berkeley fraternities.

Contact Jessica Lynn at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jessicailynn.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that in January 2015, UC Berkeley’s Panhellenic Council lifted a ban on exchanges with disaffiliated fraternities. In fact, the council has not lifted this ban.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that in January 2015, UC Berkeley’s Panhellenic Council lifted a ban on members’ “social activity” on the properties of disaffiliated fraternities. In fact, the council partially lifted this ban in February 2015.