A fraternity at Pennsylvania State University under police investigation was suspended Tuesday by its national headquarters for a secret, members-only Facebook page that allegedly featured pictures of scantily-clad females, drug deals and hazing rituals.
A State College Police Department search warrant filed on Jan. 30 said a former member of Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho chapter first notified authorities that the fraternity was operating the private page with the illicit images. The pictures were accessible to both current members and alumni, NBC affiliate WJAC reported Monday.
A female spotted a topless picture of herself on a page called “Covert Business Operations” last year while visiting the Kappa Delta Rho house, and threatened members, who shut down the page, according to the warrant. But a second page called “2.0” popped up in its place shortly after, and included pictures of “nude females who appeared to be passed out … or in other sexual or embarrassing positions,” the warrant said. Pictures on the page also showed sales of marijuana, ADD medication and cocaine, according to the warrant.
The former fraternity member, who alerted police to the page — which has 144 active members — provided authorities with “a small fraction” of its contents, according to the warrant. The State College Police Department seeks to obtain more photos and posts on “2.0” that “may be related to criminal activity,” the search warrant said.
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John Gardner, a State College Police Department captain, said during a news conference Tuesday that a criminal investigation was ongoing, but no arrests have been made. He asked witnesses and people who thought they might be victims to come forward so that the department could “identify perpetrators.”
“The pictures were disturbing,” Gardner added.
The Penn State Interfraternity Council sent a cease and desist letter to the fraternity on March 3, school spokesman L. Reidar Jensen told NBC News. "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 of student affairs, said in a statement.
The national Kappa Delta Rho headquarters followed up Tuesday and sent a letter to the Penn State chapter saying it was suspended for a year “for the most serious misconduct, most serious disregard" of fraternity rules and policies.
Joseph Rosenberg, the executive director of Kappa Delta Rho, said the fraternity was “conducting a full membership review and reorganization” of the local Penn State chapter and cooperating with the police and university investigations.
“We embrace the principle of respect for all persons and we will adhere to that principle in this matter,” Rosenberg said.
— Elisha Fieldstadt