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University of Central Florida Frat Chapter Suspended After Members Allegedly Rape Student
The same chapter was suspended last year after two of its members were accused of rape.
A fraternity chapter at the University of Central Florida has been suspended after two students were charged with sexually assaulting a woman at a party near campus.
Students David Anthony Kirk, a 20-year-old junior pre-marketing major, and Jack Ryan Smith, a 26-year-old sophomore pre-business major, were arrested Saturday and charged with sexual battery, FOX 35 reported. The two men are alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman at a party held in a house that "often is the venue to parties hosted by the Alpha Tao Omega fraternity," a police report said
The alleged victim says that she passed out and woke up to Smith and Kirk sexually assaulting her. According to the police report, she remembered one of the men saying “my turn, my turn” before switching positions, the Orlando Sentinel reported. She later woke up alone in a bathroom, where she called her friends for help. The victim went to Florida Hospital East Orlando to report the rape the next day.
The university has placed the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity on interim suspension, on the grounds of disruptive and alcohol-related misconduct, Wesh 2 reported.
The national organization released a statement on Tuesday supporting the alleged victim.
The five men who rent the home where the party was held are ATO members, but officials said the event was not sponsored by the fraternity.
“The party was not planned or coordinated by the chapter, was not sponsored by the chapter, was not sanctioned or promoted by the chapter,” read ATO's statement to the Orlando Sentinel. “This was not an ATO event.”
ATO officials also confirmed that while Kirk had been a member in the past, he was kicked out of the chapter in January, according to the Sentinel. Smith, on the other hand, they say has never been an ATO pledge or member.
Smith was brought to tears during his first court appearance on Monday, FOX 13 reports, where he remarked, “I’ve never done anything wrong in my life.”
Kirk has maintained his innocence, telling reporters on Wednesday, according to FOX 13, “I am 100 percent innocent of these charges and I am confident the truth will prevail.”
Kirk's attorney Ken Lewis claimed that what occurred between Kirk and his accuser does not constitute sexual battery on an incapacitated person, and said that his client is “100 percent innocent,” the Orlando Sentinel reports. Lewis also accused the alleged victim of only texting friends “after somebody walked in and she was embarrassed because she was caught in the act.”
“The girl basically gives numerous accounts of what went on and then says she was passed out,” Lewis reportedly said during Kirk’s first appearance in front of a judge. “And there’s not a single piece of physical evidence and there’s not a single supporting witness.”
Lewis said that he contacted the detective investigating the incident and asked her not to arrest Kirk.
“What do you have to support that this isn’t remorse of a girl that engaged in sexual activity of which we have numerous witnesses? I have no less than five witnesses,” Lewis reportedly asked, adding that the detective didn't want to hear any of it.
This is the second time the university's ATO chapter has been suspended in less than a year. The group was suspended briefly last fall after two of its members — Antonio Camargos Ortiz Candido, 21, and Alexander Emilio Garces, 22 — were charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment. Their crimes were alleged to have taken place at the fraternity’s on-campus house during a “New Years in July” party, the Palm Beach Post reported. The charges were later dropped, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
[Photo: Jack Ryan Smith (left) and David Anthony Kirk, Orange County Sheriff's Office]