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Student raped twice in 20 days: Alleged assailants remain U of M students

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A female student was  allegedly raped 20 days apart by two people involved with the same fraternity last semester and now is traumatized every time she has to face one of her perpetrators on campus.  

A male student, who was a member of the Lambda Chi fraternity at the time, has been charged with raping the student. She then said she was followed less than three weeks later by someone else associated with Lambda Chi and was raped at the Gather on Southern apartment complex. 

Caroline, who asked that her real name not be used for protection of privacy, attended a party at the Sigma Chi fraternity house on the night of April 1. She became intoxicated after drinking “two cups†of champagne and believed someone at the party drugged her. Because she was not feeling well, a friend who she had known for a couple years drove her to his house in Arlington, where he allegedly sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious. 

“I felt comfortable because his family was there,†Caroline said in a Rape Crisis Center report. “I took off my clothes and left on my shirt and panties and got in the bed. We went to sleep. When he thought I was fully asleep, he called my name.â€

She said she could not fully respond to him because she was dazed from the possible drugging, and when she woke up, they were both naked in the bed, but she does not know details of what happened. Caroline said she trusted him to take care of her, as they had been friends for two years.

Nick Wayman is facing charges of rape and sexual battery with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and will have a bond arraignment Oct. 11, according to Shelby County court records.

Wayman, who could not be reached for comment, was suspended from the university for only the summer 2017 semester, but he was allowed to come back to campus Aug. 27, the beginning of the fall semester, according to a letter from Darren Wibberding, associate director for student conduct. Caroline was not taking classes or on campus over the summer, but she has seen him on campus this fall semester. 

“I see him in the University Center every single day,†she said. “I can’t go eat because he’s always in there. We have a class in Clement Hall at the same time, and I have to arrive 15 minutes early and leave 15 minutes late [to avoid seeing him], which makes me late to work.â€Â 

Caroline and a friend were invited to a Lambda Chi event at Newby’s on the Highland Strip on April 21, she said, as an attempt by a few members to mend fences after the first assault. She and her friend ran into a male student, whom Caroline’s friend knew, and asked him to walk them home. Caroline stayed at her friend’s room in Gather on Southern while her friend was staying at her boyfriend’s house, and the male student slept on the living room couch. 

“I woke up to him kissing me,†she said in another Rape Crisis Center report. “He said, ‘You want to fuck?’ I said, ‘No.’ I fell back asleep. I woke up to him on top of me, and I was on my stomach. He was on top of me, having sex with me. I could see the camera flash. He was taking pictures of me.â€

She was contacted by a representative from the Office of Institutional Equity and made aware of the photos’ existence, but they did not have access to the photos at the time.

After the second assault, she got dressed, left the apartment and contacted security at Gather, who immediately called the police. Campus police and the Memphis Police Department arrived. Campus police did not report the incident because it was technically off campus and did not pose an immediate threat to student safety because the suspect’s identity was known, according to Assistant Chief of Campus Police Derek Myers. 

Caroline and her friend were both diagnosed with PTSD after the incident and are taking medication.

She completed a rape kit with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for the first incident and with MPD for the second. MPD said it could be months  or years before the test comes back, though, which is why there are no charges against the second suspect.  

The incidents are still under investigation and because of that, campus police, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Office of Student Conduct and university administration declined to comment. President M. David Rudd did provide a statement on student safety. 

“We encourage criminal investigation and prosecution when appropriate,†Rudd said. “In such cases we cooperate fully and assist the local police department.  We are always cognizant of and responsive to issues of safety and take appropriate steps to include providing support and resources to those reporting a sexual assault.  Finally, it’s important to remember that these cases have to be fully investigated, and those accused are provided due process, in accordance with university policies and local, state and federal law.â€

President of the U of M Lambda Chi chapter, Bobby Prince, said the fraternity has “no comment†on the situation.

Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity national headquarters was made aware of the first incident involving Wayman, but they did not know of the latter because the second person is not a Lambda Chi member, only socializes often with Lambda Chi.

“Since this alleged incident involves an individual and not the chapter, there is no action being taken toward the chapter,†Tad Lichtenauer, national director of communications of the fraternity, said.

Caroline said she does not feel safe on campus and did not return to campus after the April 1 incident, so she was unable to finish the semester. However, she returned to campus for the fall semester. 

“Pretty much everyone knows by this point, and that’s been kind of uncool,†she said. “I feel kind of socially excluded, and there’s been a lot of social backlash for coming forward. People talk about me because the first guy told everybody I was lying.â€

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