Suspect tied to Hannah Graham case now linked to alleged rape


LYNCHBURG, Va. (CNN) — Liberty University, October 2002: a female student calls police at 4:26 am to report a rape. Officers respond immediately. The girl tells them she was raped at the Vines Center, the school’s sports arena. Michael Doucette, Commonwealth Attorney, says reports show she called the Lynchburg Police Department.

While Doucette didn’t work the case, he has reviewed the file. He says the male student named as the attacker is Jesse Matthew, same man accused in the disappearance of UVa student Hannah Graham, now 12 years later. Liberty University confirms that too.

Doucette says her complaint to the field officer identified him as L.J. “L.J.” appeared to be Matthew’s nickname on campus, where he was a student. Doucette says Matthew cooperated with police, even gave them a statement, but was never charged due to lack of evidence and no eyewitnesses from the Vines Center where the alleged attack happened.

Doucette says the issue became one of consent, “One where she said she hadn’t consented, one where he said she had.” He would not discuss details of the alleged assault, only saying Lynchburg Police were in contact with the girl who still has not been identified publicly, until she stopped returning their calls. The prosecutor at the time dropped the case.

Until then, Jesse Matthew had a good thing going at Liberty University. He was enrolled from 2000 to 2002; and reportedly had a football scholarship, playing defensive lineman for the Liberty Flames. Why he left after the rape accusation is still unclear. It is unknown if Matthew was expelled from Liberty University, or just left on his own. The University has not divulged that information, citing student privacy laws.

One former teammate told CNN that Matthew was “childlike” and “awkward” and didn’t really know what’s appropriate. That may be true, but if he was violent, and capable of rap, one person who survived his alleged attack is still refusing to come forward all these years later.

Christopher Newport News University has also confirmed that Matthew was connected to a sexual assault investigation that occurred while he was a student there in 2003. But the university is not releasing many details about the case.

Copyright CNN 2014
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