Eleven women accuse Eastern Michigan University of covering up sexual assaults

March 25, 2021, 7:25 AM

A lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday accuses officials at Eastern Michigan University of covering up sexual assaults on or near campus. 

Eastern Michigan University (Photo: Dwight Burdette)

The Detroit News reports:

Eleven women, using the alias Jane Doe, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the university’s board of regents, police department and several fraternities, including Alpha Sigma Phi and Delta Tau Delta.

Their 166-page lawsuit alleges fraternity members covered up sexual misconduct by their members that was revealed at the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity house during a so-called "Mystic Circle" event created as a judgment-free confessional involving members sitting in a ring in an unlit room. During one "Mystic Circle" event, an accuser was placed in the center of the circle and accused a fraternity brother of raping her.

... Named in the lawsuit is Melody Werner, who previously served as Eastern Michigan University’s Title IX director and allegedly failed to report accusations to law enforcement in 2018, allowing one former student "to continue his serial sexual assaults," the lawsuit says. She joined the Michigan State University Office of Institutional Equity in November 2019.

The case names three men -- Dustyn Durbin, D'Angelo McWilliams and Thomas Hernandez -- who allegedly perpetrated various sexual assaults on or near the campus in recent years. All three have been charged by authorities in Washtenaw County, and claim they are not guilty. 

EMU spokesman Geoff Larcom issued a statement defending Werner and claiming, "The accusation in the lawsuit that the university covered up any such crimes is false."

Read more:  The Detroit News

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