A 19-year-old Kansas University student was charged Wednesday with disorderly conduct and battery in connection with an incident in which he allegedly insulted and struck a black woman delivering pizza to his KU fraternity.
Douglas County Dist. Atty. Jim Flory announced Wednesday afternoon that he had filed a complaint containing the misdemeanor counts against the student, Matthew Willenborg.
The charges stem from a March 30 incident in which Ann Dean, a black KU student, reported to police that Willenborg struck her and made racially insulting remarks to her while she was delivering pizzas to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, 1301 West Campus Rd.
In a news release, Flory stated that a summons has been issued for Willenborg to appear in Douglas County District Court. Flory said he would release no further information about the court proceedings until Willenborg was served with the summons.
THE ALLEGED incident involving Willenborg touched off protests at KU that came to a head April 11, when students converged on Strong Hall and demanded to meet with Chancellor Gene Budig. About 500 students demanded the university take steps to combat racism and increase efforts to improve the climate for minority students on campus.
Last weekend, Willenborg and his roommate, Greg S. McGivern, were arrested after they allegedly beat a 19-year-old Lawrence man at a local apartment complex.
Police reported that the alleged victim said he saw a car driven by McGivern strike a parked car in the complex parking lot. When the man suggested to Willenborg and McGivern that they report the accident to police, officials said, the men shouted at him, then began hitting and kicking him.
Both men were arrested and charged with battery. McGivern also was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and failure to report an accident. Willenborg and McGivern are scheduled to appear Wednesday in municipal court. Both men have resigned their membership in SAE, according to the fraternity president.
DEAN SAID Tuesday she was relieved that Flory filed the charges. However, the way her case was handled has left her with some doubts about local authorities.
"It's kind of odd that it's taken so long," she said. "The thing I think that bothers me the most is that everyone responded so quickly to that thing last weekend and mine was just kind of blown off."
An organizer of the April 11 protest, KU student Mark McCormick, said he also was puzzled by the time lag.
"I have two concerns," McCormick said. "First, why did it take so long? And also, I was just wondering if this would have happened if Willenborg hadn't gotten in trouble last weekend."
Flory was out of town and could not be reached for comment. Willenborg also could not be reached.