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Protecting The Legal Interests Of Injured Hawaii Residents And Visitors Since 1973

Was sexual assault in frat house due to inadequate security?

When an accident or injury takes place on property in Hawaii owned by an individual, business or institution, the injured party has the right to seek legal recourse. This is true in slip-and-fall incidents, improperly maintained structures, or in cases in which there was inadequate security in place to protect visitors. The legal term for these types of claims is premises liability, and the cases that fall under this category can be very diverse.

Take, for example, a recently filed case in which two women against the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau. The women claim that they were sexually assaulted at one of the fraternity's properties. Furthermore, they assert that the fraternity's leadership failed to address an overall culture of "pro-rape attitudes and misogyny" which contributed to the incidents of assault.

The young women claim that a member of the fraternity gave them alcohol until they blacked out, then proceeded to sexually assault them. The matter was investigated by the local police department, and the student was arrested. No charges have been filed in the matter, but the case remains open. The school expelled the male student for violations of school policy regarding sexual misconduct.

The premises liability lawsuit claims that the fraternity's leadership should have been aware of troubling practices embraced by the male membership of Phi Kappa Tau. These alleged acts include keeping a "conquest board" with the names of women that members have had sexual relations with, and minutes from fraternity meetings that include the quote "rape is good." Email exchanged through the fraternity's listserve includes messages that encourage members to ply women, referred to as "rape bait," with alcohol.

The lawsuit claims that a chapter advisor for the fraternity was present at meetings in which a pro-rape attitude was expressed and did nothing to address that issue. As the case moves forward, readers in Hawaii could learn more about the manner in which this national fraternity operates, and whether a court will agree that the group provided inadequate security for visitors to the fraternity's properties. In addition to the claim of premises liability, the case also includes assertions of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. 

Source: nique.net, "Phi Kappa Tau fraternity facing lawsuit", Kenneth Marino, Nov. 6, 2014

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