Rape victim sues Utah State University, fraternity

Posted at 10:09 PM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-08 00:09:06-05

LOGAN, Utah — A rape victim is suing Utah State University and the Sigma Chi Fraternity, claiming they knew her attacker was dangerous, but did nothing to stop him.

Back in May, we spoke with Victoria Hewlett after Jason Relopez pleaded guilty to attempted rape and was sentenced to a year in jail.

"It was really hard because I don't feel Jason Relopez got what he deserved," Hewlett said.

Now, Hewlett is seeking justice through a new avenue and with some help from her attorney, Jeffrey Eisenberg.

"I don't think she felt that justice was truly served," Eisenberg said.

According to court documents, before Hewlett was attacked in 2015, five other women at Utah State University had reported to university officials that they had been sexually assaulted by Jason Relopez.

"It shouldn't take six of these events. They should be investigated the right way from the first one, not the sixth one," Eisenberg said.

According to Eisenberg USU violated federal law by not taking action.

"The university, once they have knowledge that a student is a danger to others, have a duty to take action to protect fellow students from harm," says Eisenberg.

The Sigma Chi fraternity is also named in the lawsuit.

Hewlett said on the night of her attack, her friend tried to enter Relopez's locked room but "the house manager and other Sigma Chi residents declined to do anything and made no effort to enter the room or determine whether Ms. Hewlett was safe."

"We go to college hoping that we're going to be in a supportive and comfortable environment, but when something like this happens, it pretty much becomes impossible," Eisenberg said.

Hewlett never returned to the Logan campus and is now taking classes at Utah Valley University.

Even though it may re-open old wounds, Hewlett’s attorney said she's hoping this case leads to changes for future victims.

"A woman who does that, in my opinion, is a hero because they're dealing with something that lasts for years," Eisenberg said.

A spokesman from Utah State told FOX 13 they have not been served with the lawsuit, so they are not ready to comment on the case.