UC Berkeley student charged after alleged sexual assault on fraternity brother

Alpha Epsilon Pi at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps
The Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, at Piedmont Avenue and Haste Street, at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps

A UC Berkeley student has been charged with two felony counts after police say he sexually assaulted a fraternity brother at their  home Friday.

Berkeley Police Officer Kenneth Tu wrote in court papers that 21-year-old Jordan Schaer reached into the pants of a sleeping fraternity brother and groped his penis, according to the alleged victim. Tu wrote that the student claimed Schaer also tried to put his finger into the young man’s anus.

Schaer’s attorney, Kellin Cooper, said Wednesday that he expects his client to be fully exonerated of the charges against him.

“Sexual assault allegations are often times made simply by a verbal statement without any corroboration,” Cooper said by email. “Unfortunately, all too often the allegations are quickly adopted by law enforcement and they become close minded to the truth and only view facts skewed toward the allegation rather than evaluate facts objectively. This is what happened here. I expect that after Mr. Schaer has his day in court the truth will come out and he will be exonerated of all charges.”


The incident is alleged to have taken place at 2430 Piedmont Ave., at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house where both young men lived.

Tu wrote that the fraternity brothers had no prior sexual relationship, and that Schaer did not have permission to be in the other student’s room, “or to touch him in any manner.”

Police arrested Schaer at the fraternity at 4:45 a.m. Friday.

Wednesday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Schaer with sexual battery by restraint, and attempted sexual penetration with a foreign object.

Schaer is no longer in custody. He is scheduled to enter a plea March 13 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.


If convicted, Schaer would be required to register for life as a sex offender. Schaer has no past convictions, according to court papers.

According to his online profiles, Schaer was a student leader with the Berkeley Jewish Student Union, and served as the group’s internal vice president until December.

He wrote on his LinkedIn profile that he is “interested in developing technology solutions to solve international and domestic problems, including healthcare, poverty, and education. I want to create beautiful, aesthetic, and technological solutions that will enhance overall quality of life.”

A representative from the UC Berkeley chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi said media inquiries must be directed to the group’s national headquarters. As of publication time, the national office had not responded to a request for comment.

The organization has more than 77,000 members, including alumni, around the world, according to Alpha Epsilon Pi’s website for its UC Berkeley branch. The Berkeley chapter, Chi Alpha, is described as “one of the largest fraternities on the Berkeley campus.”


Last year, news service JNS.org described the fraternity as “a major Jewish organization and Israel advocacy force on college campuses.” Alpha Epsilon Phi — known more casually as AEPi — was founded at New York University in 1913 at a time when Jews were not allowed into other Greek organizations.

Update, 12:30 p.m. Kodi Colip, spokeswoman for the Alpha Epsilon Pi International Headquarters, sent the following statement to Berkeleyside on Thursday morning: “Alpha Epsilon Pi International was notified immediately that an alleged assault occurred in its Berkeley chapter house.

“Alpha Epsilon Pi International and our local chapter at UC-Berkeley are cooperating fully with all investigations in this matter. We take seriously any allegations of assault of any kind and, once the investigations are complete, will take whatever action we deem is appropriate. Meanwhile, we continue to work to ensure that our brothers, and others in our community, are made to feel comfortable and safe within their campus home.”

Update, 3:49 p.m. UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore provided the following statement by email regarding the general process that takes place after a student is arrested on suspicion of sexual assault or harassment. The university is legally prohibited from commenting on individual cases or student status.

We take allegations of sexual assault very seriously and have a number of options at our disposal. This includes a number of administrative actions that are separate from the criminal process. Please keep in mind that we cannot comment on individual cases (per federal and UC student privacy law and policies), below is information on our general process and options under that process.

When a student brings an allegation of sexual assault or harassment to the Title IX office/Office of Student Conduct, the matter is investigated and can result in student code of conduct charges being filed. If the accused student is found responsible, he or she could face sanctions up to and including suspension or dismissal.

The university also has the option to take certain interim measures before a case goes through the full administrative process. Examples of interim responses include, but are not limited to, interim suspensions, no-contact directives, and accommodations related to housing or academics.

— Interim Suspension: Exclusion from classes, from other specified activities, from areas of the campus, or from the entire campus. (A student will be restricted only to the minimum extent necessary and when there is reasonable cause to believe that the student’s participation in University activities or presence at specified areas of the campus will lead to physical abuse, threats of violence, or conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person on University property or at official University functions, or other disruptive activity incompatible with the orderly operation of the campus.) Such a suspension can last through the time that an allegation goes through the conduct process, unless an individual successfully appeals the interim suspension through a campus administrative review process. Through that process, the interim suspension can be amended or lifted.

–No Contact Directive: A No-Contact Directive is regularly imposed following a report of sexual misconduct and remains in place indefinitely regardless of the investigation outcome. Under such a directive an individual is required to, for example, stay a certain distance away from another student or leave the area if they happen to inadvertently run into the student.

–Housing accommodations: This may include, for example, moving an accused student who lives in the same university housing with the complainant student. In some cases, the complainant student may request to be moved to another location and the University will work with the complainant.

–Academic accommodations: This may include, for example, adjusting academic schedules so that an individual does not remain in the same class with an accused individual.

Note: For more on the interim suspension process, see the code of conduct below, page 21, section. 105.08.

[Editor’s Note: This story was updated after publication to correct Schaer’s position with the JSU and to add statements from Alpha Epsilon Pi’s International Headquarters and UC Berkeley.]

Related:
Update: UC Berkeley student exonerated of rape charge (10.17.14)
5 report frat house drugging, sex assaults in Berkeley (10.17.14)

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