A sorority at a central Georgia college is caught up in a sex scandal allegedly involving pimps and politicians.
Alecia Johnson, graduate adviser for the Alpha Beta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., at Fort Valley State University, resigned last month after law enforcement and school officials launched an investigation into sexual misconduct reports, The Washington Post reported. Johnson’s departure follows accusations that she instructed pledges to have sex for money with local politicians and businessmen to cover costly induction fees, according to Rolling Out.
“She’s not a pimp, and she’s not a madam. None of that,” Adrian Patrick, Johnson’s lawyer, told Atlanta’s Channel 2 on Monday. “She’s not guilty. She did not do anything.”
“I have no evidence of her having done anything improper or criminal,” Patrick told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his client, who worked at the predominantly black school for 14 years. The school promoted Johnson, the president’s executive assistant, to the role of special events director last July.
The University Systems of Georgia launched an investigation into Alpha Beta after receiving two tips of “alleged wrongdoing” within the chapter on April 5. A week later, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations also announced it was looking into the sexual-misconduct allegations against the chapter. Investigators recently searched Johnson’s home and personal computer for evidence, the AJC reported.
“We were appalled to learn of allegations of sexual misconduct against a Fort Valley State University employee who also is a graduate member of the sorority,” the national office for Alpha Kappa Alpha said in a statement. “Upon learning of these allegations, we immediately contacted the university and launched an internal investigation, which is ongoing.”
It is not clear whether activities at the chapter have been suspended until the results of the multiple investigations are revealed. A representative from the sorority declined to comment further. In a statement, the sorority maintained that it has a “zero-tolerance” policy for hazing and sexual harassment.
Patrick, Johnson’s attorney, said the prostitution ring allegations are “incredulous” and “inconsistent with the reputation” of the storied organization.
Founded in 1908 at Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha is the oldest black sorority in the nation and part of the Divine Nine of African-American fraternities and sororities. Like other Greek organizations, the process and rituals around joining are often veiled in secrecy, which has periodically prompted inquiries into its practices. In February, the University of Pittsburgh suspended its chapter, Iota, for allegedly making pledges eat rotten food and get spanked with a paddle as part of a hazing incident.