Police at the University of North Dakota are investigating a possible hate crime in which a group of drunken Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers sexually assaulted a gay man.
Haakon Gisvold claims he went to a party held at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house last weekend. At some point during the evening, four brothers approached him and demanded he leave because his sexual orientation was apparently different than theirs.
According to Gisvold, the men followed him outside. They pushed him to the ground then proceeded to choke him. His clothes were stripped from his body, and his belt was used to beat him as they shouted antigay slurs.
If the allegations are true, police say the case could be treated as a hate crime.
“If you label something a hate crime it has to be labeled based on the fact that the suspect knew that that person was something. Whether it was based on race or religion or whatnot,” UND sergeant Danny Weigel told the Grand Forks Herald. “We were informed by the victim that people with the assault had made comments regarding sexual orientation.”
But some students say they are skeptical of Gisvold’s story.
“I’m just surprised,” freshman Cade Hoben told the Herald. “And I feel like there’s more to the story.”
“I guess, I really can’t believe that, but if it’s true, that’s crazy,” added freshman Maria Diepolder. “I think [Lambda Chi Alpha has] a pretty good reputation here in North Dakota.”
Lambda Chi Alpha has not released a statement over the matter. UND’s president, Robert Kelley, released a statement this week saying he was “disturbed” by the news and assuring that “any student or student organization found to have violated the UND Code of Student Life will be subject to disciplinary action.”
h/t: Grand Forks Herald