“The images are disturbing, I’ll tell you that,” State College Assistant Police Chief John Gardner said at a news conference. “I don’t want to get into any more specifics.”
Police records, however, did. “Some of the postings were of nude females that appeared to be passed out and nude or in other sexual or embarrassing positions,” a search warrant stated. “It appears from the photos provided that the individuals in the photos are not aware that the photos had been taken.” On the page, the search warrant said, “members share photos of unsuspecting victims, drug sales, and hazing. [One former member] stated the drugs included marijuana and edibles, concentrates, ADD medication, and some cocaine.”
The scandal marks the latest frat controversy to erupt in a year saturated with them. From debunked allegations of a campus gang-rape at the University of Virginia to an Oklahoma University frat singing a racist chant, the Penn State frat’s secret Facebook page pushed yet another campus into the national spotlight and elicited more soul-searching over what possesses some people to make such bad decisions.
“The evidence offered by the Facebook postings is appalling, offensive and inconsistent with the university community’s values and expectations,” Damon Sims, Penn State’s vice president for student affairs, said in a statement. “We are confident that the various investigative and review processes, both internal and external to the university, will determine responsibility in this case. The university will hold accountable any groups and individuals found responsible.”
The national office of the fraternity has likewise suspended the campus fraternity for what it called on Tuesday “serious misconduct, most serious disregard of Fraternity rules.”
The scandal opened Jan. 18. That was when a former member arrived at the local police station requesting a meeting. Furnishing a slew of photographs, he said the frat was operating an eight-month-old Facebook page called “2.0,” an apparent reference to an earlier incarnation of the group. That one was called “Covert Business Transactions.”
It got removed when it “was discovered by a victim and shut down,” police records said. A victim “was visiting the fraternity when a member accidentally left his Facebook page logged in. [She] observed a photograph of her topless which was posted to the group. [She] became upset and threatened the fraternity, which subsequently shut down ‘Covert Business Transactions.’ The new page, ‘2.o,’ was created shortly after.”
The former member showed 20 pictures. They included one member saying he “banged” one woman, another woman “passed out in a member’s room” and another showing “strippers hired by the fraternity for a frat.”
“This is the kind of stuff that happens at KDR,” the former member told the police.
Student publication Onward State reviewed some of the evidence. One of the Facebook screenshots showed the frat boys delighting over how much they were viewing certain images. “373,217 views,” one comment said. “All from us.” Another added: “Make that 373,218.”