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Woman’s statement tells of hazing and harassment at The Citadel

February 15, 1997

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ A female cadet who left The Citadel said male cadets booed her in the mess hall and entered her room late at night and made sexual comments, according to her 230-page deposition released Friday.

Jeanie Mentavlos said she couldn’t tell anybody in authority about the harassment, not even a female military officer assigned to the corps.

``All of these people were, like, connected. So there was nobody I could go to. No matter who I went to it was like, them against me,″ she said in the sworn statement to college officials, who will hold disciplinary hearings next week.

She and Kim Messer left the school after one semester, alleging they had been hazed and harassed. State and federal agencies are investigating and 10 cadets face disciplinary action. Two female cadets remain at the college.

Ms. Mentavlos said she and Ms. Messer started to think about leaving The Citadel in late October after they were diagnosed with pelvic stress fractures. Because of the injuries, they were excused from physical and military training, drawing more hostile attention from other cadets.

Upon returning from the doctor, Mentavlos said she and Ms. Messer were ``wolf-packed″ _ surrounded and insulted by upperclassmen _ at evening formation.

``That’s it you know, we’re leaving, we’re out of here,″ she recalled telling Ms. Messer. ``You know that now we have this stress fracture ... it’s never going to let up.″

Afterward, the women went to their rooms instead of dinner. A cadet officer came to get them and when they entered the mess hall late, ``everybody turns around. People are just shouting stuff at us and booing, crying.″

Ms. Mentavlos also described how one male cadet, against school rules, would enter her room in the middle of the night and she would have to jump out of bed at attention. Noting she wore bicycle shorts and a T-shirt to sleep, she said the cadet ``repeatedly made sexual comments about me in my spandex shorts.″

She said another male cadet routinely came into her room wearing nothing but boxer shorts and flip-flops.

Other male cadets entered women’s rooms when the women had just returned from showers and were wearing only bathrobes, she said. Sometimes they would enter the rooms alone, in violation of college rules.

Ms. Mentavlos said she had to get down on her knees and sing ``You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling″ to the girlfriends of a male cadet.

She also described incidents in which her T-shirt was set afire with nail polish remover and in which she and Ms. Messer were forced to stand in a metal clothes cabinet while being punched and kicked.

She added that she and Ms. Messer were singled out more than the other female cadets to the point that one of them, Petra Lovetinska, was concerned.

``She was crying, really crying, and saying she couldn’t understand why I was catching all this hell and she wasn’t getting anything,″ the statement said.

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