UM student faces expulsion in sex case

April 23, 1992|By Lou Ferrara and Bruce Reid | Lou Ferrara and Bruce Reid,Staff Writers

COLLEGE PARK -- A University of Maryland student faces possible expulsion because a campus judicial board, hearing allegations of sexual assault behind closed doors this week, ruled that he violated the school's code of conduct.

The 22-year-old man, who is not identified because he has not been criminally charged, was accused along with two fellow members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity's College Park chapter of raping Sharon Williams, 19, of Herndon, Va.

A majority of the five student members of the board, which also has faculty advisers, cleared two other defendants.

The judicial board now must recommend a penalty to the campus vice president for student affairs that could range from a reprimand to expulsion. The punishment may ultimately be decided by the College Park university president, William E. Kirwan.

Richard M. Karceski, an attorney who represented the accused fraternity members, said he expected to appeal any penalty once the recommendation is made. If that is unsuccessful, he added, he could file an appeal in Circuit Court. "There's a possibility it could go to court. It depends how far [the student] wants to take it," Mr. Karceski said yesterday. "We will certainly pursue this until the end, as far as I'm concerned."

School officials said the student was scheduled to graduate next month. Should the penalty be expulsion, the officials said, credits he has received since the alleged rape would be wiped off the books.

Miss Williams, who went public with her allegations last fall, said that when she visited the fraternity quarters in Wicomico Hall on lTC Oct. 25, 1990, she was raped by the three students about 4 a.m.

"I don't think they had enough courage to find all of them guilty," she said yesterday, reacting to the board's recommendation.

Last summer, the judicial board found that all three fraternity members had assaulted the woman and recommended that they be expelled. But that ruling was thrown out by school administrators and a new hearing ordered after the three students hired a lawyer who raised questions about the legality of the proceedings.

Miss Williams had said that she wanted to avoid any publicity when she decided not to press criminal charges after the incident and that expulsion for the men would be adequate punishment.

School officials would provide no details of the board's ruling. The judicial board's hearings and records are closed to the public.

Mr. Karceski said the two students who were exonerated this week denied having any contact with Miss Williams, while the 22-year-old who was found "responsible" by the judicial board said there was "contact of a consensual nature."

At the time of the alleged assault, Miss Williams was a student at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va. She subsequently left school and has taken a full-time job as a receptionist for an environmental consulting firm. She said she plans to enter Longwood College in Farmville, Va., in August to study education.

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