Chico fraternity responds to "rape barn" allegations
CHICO, Calif. —
A Chico fraternity is reacting to a viral social media post suggesting it allows sexual assault to go unchecked on its property.
The Facebook post comes from an Uber driver who has asked not to be identified. In his post, he said a group of passengers asked him to take them to what they called the "Rape Barn." The driver wrote, "I asked them to clarify what they just told me and sure enough they said it was indeed called, 'the Rape Barn.' [The passengers then] explained that girls usually got raped there as they do at a lot of the CSU Chico fraternities, like it was no big deal."
His post was shared hundreds of times, but Wednesday, the men who live at the fraternity house said there is no truth to these allegations.
"We're not doing the things that people think we're doing, you know we're not the monsters that people are making us out to be and that's upsetting," said Brian Tolentino, who lives at Delta Psi Delta at 318 Hazel Street.
He said he and the 12 other fraternity brothers that live there too are used to hearing what he calls rumors about the house, but the post on Facebook took things to a new level. Now he and his friends are getting death threats.
"They're saying that we're not gonna make it home, that we're not gonna make it out of the house when it's on fire," Tolentino explained.
This house is only two blocks from Chico State University and it was purchased by the fraternity back in the 1950s, which is the same time the vice president of the frat said he believes those rumors originated.
"When I was a freshman, before I pledged here, you know I heard about the whole reputation and what not, so that dates back to at least three years and I'm sure it was way long before then, Tolentino said. "I have some personal friends who, their moms were like, 'yeah that's what they called it."
There are nearly one hundred comments on the original Facebook post, some defending the men who lived there and others who said they'd heard this reputation too.
KRCR News Channel 7 checked in with Chico Police to see if the rumors had any basis in fact. Police did not want to comment on camera, but agreed to pull up call logs for the house going back 25 years to 1993.
There were four calls to the house involving sexual assault. One in 2001 for an attempted rape, and in 2015, there were three calls reporting rape. The first was in February, then April, then September.
Now those are just reports, KRCR is still working to determine if there were any charges filed.
Lily White and Meghan Murphy said they're at the house almost every weekend and the rumors aren't true.
"We feel so safe here that we come back, and I personally think of them as our family," said Murphy. "As a person who's experienced rape and been around it, I just think that they're getting a bad rap for things that they haven't done."
White agreed, saying she's had to show other friends the rumors are just that, too.
"I've brought my friends who have believed those rumors, that have said isn't that.. I've heard that before from other people and I say come! And they've came and they've had an enjoyable experience and said 'I feel safe, I want to come again,'" White explained.
Tolentino said he hopes everyone understands he and his friends would never allow anything like that to go on.
"Why would we join a place that would knowingly do something so heinous to people," he questioned. "Its just stupid, it honestly is."
Chico State staff did not want to comment on this, but did point out that the fraternity is not registered on campus.