Missing-student suspect faced previous allegations

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The man charged with abducting a missing University of Virginia student was accused of sexual assault at two colleges more than a decade ago, but did not face charges in either case.

The allegations came to light after Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was arrested last week and charged with abduction with intent to defile 18-year-old Hannah Graham, who disappeared about three weeks ago after a night out with friends. Matthew has now been linked to Graham, the disappearance and death of another University of Virginia student and three sexual assault allegations.

In 2003, while Matthew was a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, he was accused of sexual assault and left the school about a month later. School officials did not explain why he left or was never charged.

“Students don’t usually leave in the second month of the semester or leave the football team within a month,” school spokeswoman Lori Jacobs said in a statement. “However, federal student record privacy laws (FERPA) limit the information we can provide.”

One year earlier, while a student at Liberty University, he was accused of raping a student on campus, but the matter was dropped when the student did not want to move forward with the prosecution.

Virginia State Police have said a “forensic link” connects Matthew to the 2009 case of University of Virginia student Morgan Harrington, whose body was found in a hayfield three months after she vanished. That case, in turn, has been linked by DNA evidence to the rape of a woman in Fairfax, Virginia, the FBI has said.

Matthew’s attorney, James Camblos, said police have not shared any evidence with him.

Matthew, 32, was scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a bond hearing on reckless driving charges, but a judge read his name and quickly moved to the next case without any explanation of where Matthew was or why he didn’t appear by video feed.

Authorities said he was charged with reckless driving after speeding away from a police station Sept. 20. At that time, he had been a “person of interest” in the Graham case. He was apprehended last week in Texas.

Matthew has a bond hearing in the Graham case on Dec. 4.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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