Purdue investigates sexual assault, fraternity suspended

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Purdue student is suspended from the university after being arrested on preliminary charges of rape and possession of paraphernalia.

Purdue University Police Chief John Cox says the victim came forward and reported that she had been raped over the weekend at the Acacia Fraternity to the law enforcement at an unidentified university in the state of Iowa. That department then notified Purdue police about the assault around noon Thursday.

After executing a search warrant, 20-year-old the James Rendon was taken into custody and questioned. He was later arrested and booked into the Tippecanoe County Jail around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

Rendon is now prohibited from being on campus. Rendon lived at the Acacia Fraternity at 608 Waldren Street and is listed as a student in the College of Technology.

In addition, the fraternity has been suspended as a Recognized Student Organization, which suspends the organization from participating in any Purdue events, activities or functions.

“Purdue takes very seriously any allegation of misconduct or crime, especially those crimes against persons,” said Chief Cox. “Anytime we get a report, we react very judiciously and we work in concert with the administration, our dean of students.”

When our crews arrived outside Acacia Friday evening, fraternity members could be seen taking down signs advertising for Rush, as well as turning off the lights out front. Fraternity members declined to make comment to News 18. Late Friday night, the national organization released a statement which can be read in full below.

Outside of saying that the reporting university is in Iowa, police are not saying what university alerted them of the assault. The case is expected to be forwarded to the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday.

Rendon has a bond set of $1,500 cash plus $15,000 surety.

Chief Cox’s message to students is if you ever feel uncomfortable about a situation you find yourself in, you should say no, then report it immediately to police, your Resident Assistant, or even a professor or administrator. You can even stay anonymous.

Michael Pastko, the Director of Communications for Acacia International Fraternity released this statement to News 18 in an email late Friday night:

“On Thursday, January 22, Acacia International Fraternity Headquarters staff was notified by the Purdue Chapter president of an alleged sexual assault that took place at the Purdue chapter house the prior evening. The chapter has been suspended by the University pending further investigation while the member in question has been arrested on rape charges, suspended by the university, and he has been suspended by the chapter. The chapter has and continues to fully cooperate with the investigation.

“Acacia International Fraternity and the Purdue Chapter condemn sexual assault in the strongest possible terms and are treating this investigation seriously. The alleged actions of this individual do not reflect a problem with this chapter, however the entire chapter now bears responsibility for taking corrective actions and standing as a voice against sexual assault in the community. Acacia Fraternity supports the actions of Purdue University and looks forward to the outcome of the investigation.

“We have no additional comments pending further investigation.”

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