A series of alleged sexual assaults and date rape cases believed to be linked to a college fraternity are being investigated at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), officials revealed Friday.
According to university officials, the campus police department has received several reports of sexual assaults allegedly involving the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity and its members over the past few months.
The first alleged rape was reported back on May 4 at an off-campus party hosted by the TKE. Officials said the assault may have involved date rape drugs and the assailant may have been a member of TKE.
Since that incident, CSUSM has received additional reports of alleged sex assaults involving the frat. Officials said those cases happened on or near the college campus or at off-campus residences where TKE members live.
For now, the only suspect description available from investigators is as follows: a 19-year-old man, approximately 5-foot-9 and 130 pounds with blonde or brown hair and blue eyes. Additional suspects have not yet been identified.
In addition to these sex crimes, the TKE frat has also recently been accused of pervasive hazing, witness intimidation, harassment, vandalism, illegal drug use and providing drugs and alcohol to minors, CSUSM officials said.
According to the university, TKE – also known as “The Kollege Experience” – is not a recognized student organization at CSUSM. Still, most of its members are current CSUSM students.
University officials said TKE lost its recognition as a student organization in 2005 due to underage alcohol use and “failure of the organization to maintain academic standing required of recognized fraternities and sororities.”
On the fraternity’s website, the TKE claims it holds its “members to a higher standard, based on personal worth and character, rather than wealth, rank, or honor.”
“Although no longer officially recognized by our university, we set the bar for academics and involvement, as our chapter holds one of the highest average GPA’s at Cal State,” the TKE website states. “We still believe in a ‘well-balanced diet’ which includes a healthy amount of college social interaction. Dubbed ‘The Kollege Experience’ our chapter continues to host some of the most reputable nightlife experiences San Marcos and the surrounding community has seen.”
Due to the number and severity of the reported sex assaults currently under investigation, CSUSM officials said the crimes “represent a potentially serious and continuing threat to students and others in the university community.”
The university warns students to take precautions, especially if attending TKE-related events or parties. Officials said students should protect themselves from falling prey to date rape drugs by keeping a vigilant eye on their drinks at parties and pouring their own drinks.
Any additional victims of sexual assault or witness intimidation or retaliation should report their case to the CSUSM SAFE Line at (760) 750-SAFE or call University Police at (760) 750-4567. Sexual assault victims can also seek support at CSUSM’s Student Health and Counseling Center at (760) 750-4915.
The Oceanside Police Department is helping the campus police department with the May 4 rape case. The Oceanside Police Department can be reached at (760) 435-4900 with any additional witness details on the incident. Victims can also call San Diego Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
NBC 7 reached out to the TKE on Saturday and received this statement from Alex Baker, chief information officer for the TKE International Fraternity:
"We are investigating and have temporarily suspended the Tau Rho chapter. We are working with local authorities to ascertain all the information."