Two Penn State sorority sisters have put their roommate drama — and a federal lawsuit — behind them.
During a semester abroad earlier this year, Molly Brownstein claimed to have been the target of extended bullying by her roommate Rachel Lader. Accusations volleyed between both parties, eventually ending up in court on the other side of the Atlantic.
Lader, an aspiring lawyer, filed a defamation and breach-of-contract lawsuit against Brownstein’s parents earlier this month, claiming they used their position as university donors to influence a disciplinary investigation against her. The investigation ended in Lader being put on academic probation.
The women have since reached a détente, one that comes days after the initial filing of the lawsuit. The pair are expected to live together this upcoming year, Brownstein’s father, Marc, told the Daily Mail Online, and have “hugged and made up.”
The reconciliation comes after a spate of disagreements between the two parties. In a memo to the university earlier this year, Brownstein wrote that her fellow Alpha Sigma Alpha sister bullied her to the point where she contemplated suicide. Brownstein’s mother, Amy, outlined additional grievances in another memo to the university, describing Lader as an intimidating presence within the sorority.
Tensions boiled during the semester overseas. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Brownstein and her parents claimed Lader brought a man back to the women’s hotel room in Prague, played music too loudly in their shared Barcelona apartment and dumped a colander of pasta on Brownstein’s bed.
“Rachel bullied me to the point where I had to leave in the middle of the night in an area where people get stabbed outside my building,” Brownstein wrote in the memo. “Whenever I think about it, it brings me to a full-on terrible place and makes me completely depressed.”
Lader denied those allegations. The lawsuit, filed in a Philadelphia federal court, claims the fallout caused her physical and emotional distress, including a five-day hospital stay in July, the Inquirer reported.
“The alleged conduct complained of by Molly Brownstein is without any merit and is nothing more than slander and harassment by (her) and her mother to have me thrown out of school,” Lader wrote in response.
She disputes the Brownsteins’ version of what happened abroad. The man whom she brought back to the hotel room was a friend who was locked out of his apartment, she wrote, and no sexual activity occurred between them. Regarding the pasta incident, Lader contends the colander was empty and that she placed it on Brownstein’s bed to prompt her to do her fair share of the housework.
Neither Lader’s nor Brownstein’s lawyer could be reached for comment.
Both Lader and Brownstein are beginning their senior years at Penn State. Classes began on Monday.
Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy