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Princeton Police investigated allegations against Tiger Inn bouncers, records show

The Princeton Police Department launched an investigation into allegations that the security officers at Tiger Inn engaged in “ongoing inappropriate sexual behavior,” according to a police report obtained by The Daily Princetonian on Dec. 18.

The investigation was prompted by an anonymous letter sent to police in mid November, which alleged thatthe current bouncers had distributed a sexual photo of a former University studentamong themselves and “continue to violate female students by groping them(rubbing their butt)at the front door.”

The letter was sent less than two weeks after allegations about a sex photo sent to the TI membership via email surfaced in the press. Multiple people interviewed by the police suggested that the letter was written by a disgruntled former employee who was fired in September. At least one of the claims in the letter -- that a TI bouncer sold drugs to students outside the club -- was admitted as unfounded by the letter's author when he was contacted by a police officer.

The investigation was closed in Decemberwith no charges filed and no evidence of criminal activity was found. The female student who allegedly appears in the photo, a member of the Class of 2012, told the police that she was unaware of the picture and said she did not want to press charges.

The police investigation found that four of the eight currently employed TI bouncers have criminal records, including arrests for battery, selling narcotics and a felony conviction for aggravated assault.

Beyond the anonymous letter, a security officer told police that he did not recall a nude photo, but rather rumors of a “hot” photo of the student, although he said he had never seen it. He added that neither him nor anyone on the security staff has had inappropriate contact with any students.

The female student said, however, that two years ago, a security officer “tried to balance keys on her buttocks and tried to hug her in an enclosed space,” but she dismissed the situation, saying she felt “as if it was ‘life as a woman,’ ” according to the report.

The female student added that she was aware of “rumors about the Tiger Inn, specifically that a female should never go there by themselves and never stay past2 a.m.,” the report reads.

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The investigation, which has not previously been reported, is the latest piece in a series of reports that have surfaced about TI. In October, then-club vice president Adam Krop ’15 distributed a photo to the TI listserv of a female student performing oral sex on a male student in the TI basement. Krop was fired from his position in late November because of the email.

Since then, TI graduate board members have admitted they are concerned about the “indication of a desensitized sexual and alcohol related culture among the student members.” In addition, over 100 former TI members called for the club to be shut down temporarily last month. The University has also charged an unspecified number of TI members with violating University policy during its investigation into the email incident.

The ‘Prince’ independently identified four of the security officers employed by TI. One of them declined to comment for this article, the other three have not responded to multiple requests to comment since Dec. 20, 2014.

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The security officers have multiple photos with female members of TI on their Facebook pages, and one photo shows that six female members recently gave the security officers cigars as gifts for the holidays.

Sean Warren, one of the bouncers, posted on his Facebook page about the investigation, implicitly denying any allegations.

“Someone has a vendetta against me, and he tried to get me and my boys jammed up,” he posted on hisFacebook profileonDec. 4, one day after he met with a police officer.

Warren was also allowed to host his birthday party in the clubhouse in late November, according to his Facebook profile.

During the course of their investigation, the police attempted to contact TI graduate board president Hap Cooper ’82, although he deferred to a graduate board member, David Silverstein ’88, who works as an attorney in the area.

After meeting with Silverstein separately, the police met with TI House Manager Bob Belsky and three graduate board members—Cooper, Silverstein and EricPedersen ’82.

During the meeting, Belsky said he was “unaware of any problems between club members and the security officers” and that he fired a security officer last September because he had been caught sleeping in his car while on duty and because he refused to rotate positions with other security officers, according to the police report.

Neither Silverstein nor Cooper has responded to multiple interview requests for this article since Dec. 18, 2014. Pedersen deferred comment to Cooper, saying "he has all the knowledge on this."

Belsky added that an anonymous letter had also been sent to him at the TI clubhouse, a copy of which was provided to the police. According to the report, the new letter repeated similar allegations, although it added that one of the officers had a felony conviction.

The Princeton Police Department declined to make the second letter available for public inspection.

Belsky provided police with a list of the security officers regularly employed at TI. The police found that four of them have criminal records, including charges of battery and resisting arrest in Maryland; a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in New Jersey; a charge and felony conviction of aggravated assault in New Jersey; and a criminal history of drug-related offenses, including selling of narcotics, in New Jersey along with a charge in Pennsylvania for providing false information to law enforcement.

On Dec. 1, 2014, police met with Belsky again to review surveillance footage of a recent event at the club. Although they observed that several security officers had contact with female students, including hugging and one female sitting on a security officer’s lap, the police noted in the report that “this contact was always initiated by the student,” and as such, no crime was committed.

Staff writer Chitra Marti contributed reporting

Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Adam Krop '15 took and distributed a photo of a sex act to the TI membership. He did not take the photo. The 'Prince' regrets the error.