Girl Trouble

When CU students take the Delta Delta Delta pledge, they take it very seriously.

Armstrong told police that wasn't the case, and an investigative report notes that "Dratler and Russell's actions were motivated by the mistaken belief that Armstrong was responsible for the Delta Delta Delta sorority being placed on probation by that national organization."

Whoever wrote the letter, the retaliation its authors had feared was soon a reality for Lili Armstrong, and it didn't stop with the defacing of her dorm-room door.

Dear Lili,

I know right now you've got to be very angry with me, and I fully understand you have every right to be. But I just wanted to apologize for all the stress, worry, and hurt that I have put you through. Every since I met you when you were sitting outside Smith, waiting for "the girl in the purple shirt" to come and take us to the first sorority meeting, I have always thought you were so nice. During rush week I thought we had the greatest group and we always had a few good laughs. I was upset when I heard you dropped from our sorority as well, it's unfortunate that ours just wasn't the right one for you, but there are more out there, so if you find yourself wanting to stay in the Greek system I hope that you find the right house for yourself. -- from Staci Dratler's apology letter

Lili Armstrong woke up shortly after seven the morning of November 8. She opened her door, only to find her exit blocked by masking tape and toilet paper. According to a police report, she tore open the bottom half of the barrier, entered the hallway and read the "several derogatory comments that had been placed on the barrier."

Armstrong went back into her room. She called her mother, she called university police, and then she lay down on her floor and cried.

"In the morning, I came out of my room to find Lili crying," says Whitney Lynch. "I sat with her until the officer arrived, then I went to class."

The campus cop photographed Armstrong's door, bagged the condoms as evidence and took Armstrong's statement.

"Lili told me she had pledged to the Tri Delta Sorority and had been accepted," the officer wrote. "As part of the initiation program, attended a new member education sleepover in Littleton on October 29. Lili told me that eight boxes of wine were at the sleepover. Lili told me she does not drink alcoholic beverages; pretended to fall asleep in order not to drink. She then decided not to proceed with her membership application and wrote a letter to the sorority advising them of her decision. She had spoken with other Tri Delta pledges who live in Smith Hall about her decision. They had heard about her withdrawing and the reasons why and said the 'situation with her' had gone to the Tri Delta National Office. She was visibly upset at the harassment."

Lynch and Armstrong went to lunch together that day. "I came back around a quarter to one," says Lynch. "I was in my room with my roommate when Staci and Kristin came in, and they were all worried about the sorority getting in more trouble for what they'd done the night before. They were all afraid that Lili would see them near the scene of the crime, so as soon as the coast was clear, they took off."

That night, the members and pledges of Delta Delta Delta held a meeting to discuss the ramifications of being placed on probation. The meeting began around 7 p.m. Armstrong was in her dorm room, working on her computer. At 7:44, an instant message from "Heatho" popped up on her screen.

It read, "Watch your back bitch!"

Armstrong again called the cops, and Officer Brian Rush arrived at her dorm room four minutes later.

"Armstrong told me that she had been informed by two residents of her floor, Jesse Robbins and Jade Cunningham, that the sorority was facing sanctions as a result of Armstrong's mother reporting alcohol consumption to National Chapter," Rush wrote in his report. "Robbins and Cunningham are members are Tri Delta and said they had spoken with Kristin Russell and asked Russell if she had heard what happened to Armstrong's door. They said Russell acted 'strange' when asked if she'd heard."

Rush began interviewing residents of Smith Hall, and in less than an hour had five witnesses who identified Staci Dratler and Kristin Russell as two of the vandals.

At 8:49 p.m., while Rush was back in Armstrong's room, re-interviewing her, a second threatening instant message, again signed by "Heatho," appeared on her screen.

It read: "Be careful when you walk late at night, you never know who might be behind you!"

Rush went down to the floor below and stopped at Staci Dratler's room. He asked her if she had any idea why he was there, and Dratler said she did. "Dratler admitted her role, specifically writing 'If you can't stand the heat get out,'" Rush wrote in his report. "Dratler said she wrote other things as well. She said that Armstrong is her friend and that's what friends do, is call each other names like that. Dratler said words don't mean anything these days."

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