Two Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity members were expelled from the University of Minnesota chapter for impeding a rape investigation of another fraternity member.
The two members were removed from the fraternity for obstructing a rape investigation of Daniel Drill-Mellum, a former member of the chapter convicted of two rape counts in August, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national organization said in a statement Tuesday.
The men, both Drill-Mellum’s roommates, videotaped a phone conversation in which they can be heard questioning Abby Honold, a fifth-year University student majoring in early education, who was assaulted by Drill-Mellum.
The Minnesota Daily is not naming the men because they have not been charged with a crime.
“He raped me a couple times,” Honold tells the men the day after her Nov. 8, 2014 rape. They submitted the recording to the Minneapolis Police Department as evidence against the rape.
“He didn’t, like, grab you and bring you back to his place?” one man is heard asking. Honold was unaware of the second man listening over speakerphone.
“No, he just lied about why we were going there,” Honold responds.
Later, the man can be heard asking Honold if the sex was consensual. Honold heard him say, “like sexual,” and responded, “yes.” It’s a distinction that convinced a Hennepin County prosecutor to originally drop charges.
“[Drill-Mellum’s roommate] would brag about how he called me and got everything dropped,” Honold said.
By the end of their phone call, Honold said she realized he was attempting to coerce her into dropping the case.
“I just want to tell you [Drill-Mellum] is a great kid. He’s a very smart kid, has a lot going for him, and what he did, obviously, from what you explained, is terrible,” the man tells Honold. “But I do ask you to think about what the consequence is with him and his future.”
The two former members could not immediately be reached for comment.
Parker Olson, the chapter’s president, declined to comment and referred questions to a SigEp spokesman.
Drill-Mellum, 22, of Waconia, was sentenced to six years in prison on two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in August for raping Honold and another woman.
In Tuesday’s statement, Sigma Phi Epsilon CEO Brian Warren said the organization expelled Drill-Mellum hours after learning of his assault against Honold, but didn’t specify when the two members who interfered in Drill-Mellum’s investigation were ejected or when the organization learned of their obstruction.
Warren said the University’s chapter will undergo healthy relationship, intervention and affirmative consent training this fall.
“Sigma Phi Epsilon stands strongly against those who would commit this callous act as well as those who seek to cover it up,” he said in the statement.
Though Honold said she’s glad the national organization stepped in, action on a local level should’ve been taken sooner.
“I know that they were aware of it, and they didn’t do anything,” she said.
Since writing and deleting a public Tumblr post on Nov. 2014, Honold said at least 10 other women have contacted her claiming to have been assaulted by Drill-Mellum. She shared her story and victim impact statement in a public Facebook post Aug. 31.
Unlike Drill-Mellum, Honold didn’t partake in greek life at the University. She said she faced retaliation from members of the greek community who sided with Drill-Mellum.
“Multiple of the other victims were involved in greek life, and they didn’t come forward because they saw the reaction within greek life to what happened to me,” Honold said.