Lawsuit Alleges Wabash College Rape, Questions Crawfordsville Cop's Response

Oct 9, 2019

Credit Wabash College

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton says he has confidence in the Crawfordsville Police Department after a federal lawsuit filed Monday highlighted the conduct of an officer during an interview about an alleged sexual assault.

In the lawsuit, an unnamed woman alleges a Wabash College student raped her at a fraternity party in April. The lawsuit also contends Detective David Long informed the woman the police force had, in Long’s words, a “close working relationship” with Wabash, adding that students accused of sexual assault in previous instances were not typically expelled or suspended from the school.

Barton says the details of the interaction between Long and the woman are verifiable.

“Any reporting and any interview and any interaction between our officers—or the detective in this case—and the person reporting is all recorded,” Barton says.  

Barton says the lawyers representing the plaintiff have not yet requested a copy of the interview recording, which he says the city will “very happily” provide.

Long is also said to have explained the school does not have a formal code of conduct, referencing what he referred to as Wabash’s “gentleman’s code”.  

Wabash’s website confirms that. The so-called “gentleman’s rule” states “The student is expected to conduct himself at all times, both on and off campus, as a gentleman and a responsible citizen.”

Barton, himself a Wabash alum, says the rule is understood to cover all behavior.

“So if you’re abiding by the gentleman’s rule, then you’re abiding by the law,” Barton says. “It’s a much higher standard.”

According to the lawsuit, the intoxicated woman was visiting the all-male school for a party and was taken to a bedroom at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, where she was allegedly raped.

The suit seeks compensatory damages for emotional distress, mental anguish, and pain and suffering, as well as the costs of the woman’s transfer to a different university, and her medical treatment.  

The woman has also filed a Title IX complaint against Wabash. A spokesman says the school will not comment on pending litigation. The Crawfordsville Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.