Three female students say they were sexually assaulted last fall.

By Emma Harville and Jasmine Johnson

Former Bethel student and Royals running back Gideon Osamwonyi Erhabor, 21, was charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court.

Erhabor was charged with raping three victims within the span of three months in 2018. One allegedly occurred in a campus dorm, and the other two at off-campus house parties in Shoreview and Roseville, according to court documents.

Bethel University President Jay Barnes addressed the situation in an email Friday morning: “These abhorrent incidents have no place in our community. Together, we work to seek truth, promote healing, and defend the worth and dignity of all people.”

Bethel officials learned of the criminal charges Tuesday after an inquiry from a reporter, Chief Enrollment and Marketing Officer Michael Vedders said in an email response to The Clarion.

“As a community, we strive to ensure our campus is a safe, welcoming, and respectful place for our students to learn and our employees to work,” Vedders said in an email announcement to students, faculty and staff on Thursday.

The maximum penalty for each charge is 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. 

Four sexual assaults were reported on campus from 2016 to 2018, according to Bethel’s Annual Security Report, which can be found on the university’s website. 

“We never really talk about this stuff, and we need to get better at talking with this stuff,” philosophy professor Sara Shady said.

In March 2019, Shady signed a letter to Bethel’s Senate Steering Committee proposing the formation of the Sexual Assault Working Group, which would go beyond the minimum legal requirements of Title IX, the federal law that requires a school to promptly investigate sexual harassment and violence reports and actively protect its students. 

The commitee, also including Faculty Senators Joy Doan and Amanda Hamilton, will aim to provide additional spaces and resources for educating students about sexual harassment and assault. A formal proposal will be presented in February, according to Shady. 

Erhabor’s charges have made both state and national headlines, including in publications such as the Star Tribune and the New York Times.

Ramsey County District Court Judge Nicole Starr issued a warrant for Erhabor’s arrest. He will be brought to the court for his first hearing Friday Dec. 6. 

Additional reporting by Josh Towner

 

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