NEWARK — At least 100 University of Delaware students gathered outside the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity house on North Chapel Street around noon Tuesday, demanding the expulsion of Brandon Freyre.
Mr. Freyre, 20, a member of the fraternity, was arrested Friday for the alleged assault and kidnapping of a Newark woman, authorities said.
Newark police reported Monday that Mr. Freyre and the victim engaged in an argument, during which he damaged the victim’s belongings.
The incident escalated, police said, and Mr. Freyre proceeded to strike the woman with blunt objects, spray her in the eyes with paint and threaten to kill her if she told the police. He then allegedly strangled her to unconsciousness and held her captive for at least four hours before throwing her down a flight of stairs, police added. The woman was then able to escape.
The victim was transported to an area hospital by emergency medical services and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
Mr. Freyre was charged with kidnapping and assault in the second degree, third-degree assault, strangulation, terroristic threatening and criminal mischief. He is in custody at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington on $38,100 cash bail.
Lt. Andrew Rubin from the Newark Police Department said Mr. Freyre’s hearing will likely be scheduled in the next 10 days. He added Tuesday that there were no other updates on the case.
During the protest Tuesday, the group started southbound on North Chapel Street, turned west onto Main Street and eventually circled around College Avenue to the North Green on Delaware Avenue. The group dispersed around 2:15 p.m.
KDR released a statement on its Instagram page Monday night, condemning Mr. Freyre’s alleged actions.
“The men of the Alpha Beta Chapter of the National Fraternity of Kappa Delta Rho at the University of Delaware do not condone violence towards women,” the statement said. “There is absolutely no place in our society or on our campus for such behavior. As soon as we were made aware of the incident involving one of our members that took place on Friday, October 8, per our due process, we suspended his membership pending the investigation by authorities. Our chapter will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure justice is served and due process is followed.”
Jose-Luis Riera, vice president of student life at UD, said Tuesday that school officials have tremendous concern, especially for the victim, in situations like this.
“We take a lot of care to try to defer to the victim and ensure that we have communication with them before we start talking about the situation, because on the other end is a woman who obviously is incredibly traumatized,” Mr. Riera said. “It matters to us what tone statements come out in. We try to make statements that we hope bring the community together, help the community to heal and also to know what action we might take.”
Mr. Riera said that Mr. Freyre is currently “separated” from the university while his charges are pending. He is not allowed on campus property, nor is he allowed to participate in any university-related activities. Once the criminal process plays out, he will have the opportunity to process his case through the Office of Student Conduct.
Mr. Riera added that the fraternity chapter was to meet Tuesday night, Oct. 12, to make a final decision on the status of Mr. Freyre’s membership.
“From the initial facts we have, we do not believe that this was a fraternity incident,” he said.
He added that the university has a fairly rigorous curriculum of programs that very intentionally work with fraternity and sorority members on issues of sexual violence.
“There’s no doubt that fraternities have a legacy and a history on many campuses across the country of engaging in behavior that, frankly, we could label oppressive to any type of minoritized individual, in this case, women,” Mr. Riera said.
“We have a plethora of resources for both victims and survivors of gender-based violence, and we continue to push those out to students.”