(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — The suspect charged in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham was accused of two sexual assaults at two separate colleges, but he wasn’t prosecuted in either case, according to records and officials involved in both cases.
Jesse Matthew, 32, remains in police custody after being arrested on abduction charges in the case of Hannah Graham.
Matthew first attended Liberty University for two years before transferring in January 2003 to Christopher Newport University for less than a year.
Michael Doucette, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Lynchburg, told ABC News on Thursday that Matthew was the subject of a sexual assault complaint in 2002 while he was a student at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Doucette did not reveal details of the case, but did say that the incident report was “an issue of consent.” Charges were not filed in this case.
Doucette spoke a day after Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., made public a “criminal incident information” report that stated Matthew was investigated for an alleged sexual assault Sept. 7, 2003, on campus.
The school said in a statement on Wednesday that it initially declined to release the report, but said, “The success of the criminal investigation is paramount at this time. The university has consulted with the Virginia State Police again today, and we are now releasing the following non-exempt ‘criminal incident information.'”
The report said the alleged sexual assault took place on the school’s campus and was investigated by university police Capt. Scott Austin. No injuries were reported in connection with the alleged assault, the report stated.
It does not indicate whether any criminal charges were filed. Calls to the Newport News police station were not returned, but previous criminal records searches did not turn up any charges of sexual assault.
Matthew’s attorney, Jim Camblos, has not responded substantively to repeated requests for comment other than to reply by email Thursday, “I have seen him several times since Monday.”
In the wake of the Graham disappearance and the investigation into Matthew, at least three different police jurisdictions have said they will be looking at open cases to see if Matthew possibly had any involvement. Virginia State Police have already said that there is a forensic link between Graham’s case and the murder of Morgan Harrington, which took place five years before Graham disappeared.
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