– A former Alpha Epsilon Pi pledge at UC Davis claims he was singled out for the worst form of hazing, including drugging, assault and sexual assault, because he was the only pledge who wasn’t Jewish, and that when he complained, the university told him to withdraw from classes.
Ryan Clifford claims in Federal Court that when he pledged the fraternity in 2008, he “was specifically targeted for the harshest form of hazing known as ‘ratfucking’ because of his non-Jewish religious affiliation.”
During an October 2008 retreat at Lake Tahoe, Clifford says, pledges were “compelled by active and alumni members of the fraternity to drink inordinate amounts of alcohol and consume beverages containing unknown narcotic substances.”
He claims he was drugged and sexually assaulted by fraternity members, who undressed him, touched his penis, and made sexual comments.
During the retreat, a pledge’s parent called the UC Davis Police Department “to report forced drinking and hazing violations, and a police officer went to the fraternity house to check out about the parent’s phone call,” according to the complaint.
Clifford’s says his mother called the Alpha Epsilon Pi headquarters “to report hazing that included forced drinking, members smoking marijuana, strippers, ‘rat-fucking’ and her son’s sexual assault. The fraternity and the university knew that the call was made by Ryan’s parent.”
He adds: “During and after the Tahoe retreat, Ryan and the other pledges were
chastised and ridiculed and subjected to threats of violence because of the
complaints by pledges’ parent to the University which undermined the fraternities
rigid ‘code of silence.'”
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In the civil case, the Starkey family is being represented by Doug Fierberg of the law firm Bode & Grenier in Washington, D.C., and Ivo Labar of the firm Kerr & Wagstaffe in San Francisco.
The firms have a history of filing lawsuits against fraternities for deaths and injuries caused by hazing and other misconduct, according to a news release.
Contact information for Kerr & Wagstaffe:
100 Spear Street
San Francisco, CA