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Sexual assault protest at UI fraternity ends in vandalism

September 1, 2021 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A protest against sexual assault that drew about 1,000 people to a University of Iowa fraternity started peacefully Tuesday night but later resulted in vandalism of buildings and overturned cars.

A group organized the protest at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, which it accused of promoting a culture of sexual assault. The group claimed in social media promotions that two members of the fraternity were “getting away with sexual assault,” according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Most of those who protested were peaceful but some vandalized the fraternity, including kicking down a door, shattering windows and spray-painting accusations. The protest later moved to another house after students heard the men accused of assaults were located, leading to more vandalism and overturned cars.

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Fraternity leaders told KCRG-TV the men accused of assault were no longer members of the organization.

Iowa City police were at the protests but didn’t appear to intervene. Police said they were investigating the vandalism.

On Wednesday afternoon, police and the Johnson County attorney’s office released a statement seeking the public’s help in investigating a sexual assault alleged to have happened on Sept. 5, 2020, at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. The statement also lauded peaceful protest but said “violence and property damage diminishes the message of the protest.”

University of Iowa officials didn’t respond to questions from The Gazette about an investigation into the sexual assault allegations but issued a statement saying that sexual violence was unacceptable and that the school takes “every allegation seriously and responds to every complaint.”