NATIONAL NEWS

Man is accused of holding girlfriend captive in university dorm for days

Sep 13, 2023, 2:28 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A 19-year-old man is accused of holding his girlfriend captive in her dorm room at a university in Minnesota while he raped, beat and waterboarded her for days until she escaped.

Keanu Labatte was arrested Sunday at St. Catherine University, an all-female school in St. Paul. He is charged with five felony counts: three for criminal sexual conduct, one for domestic assault by strangulation and one for threats of violence.

The office of the public defender representing Labatte declined to comment on the case.

According to a criminal complaint filed this week, Labatte arrived on campus last Thursday to visit his girlfriend of two months. She is not named in the complaint.

After finding texts, pictures and social media content that infuriated him, Labatte grabbed her phone and kept it away from her for days, the complaint says. She was strangled, threatened with a knife, forced to lie in a bathtub while Labatte covered her face with a washcloth and poured water on her, and sexually assaulted in her dorm room from Thursday to Saturday, it adds.

On Sunday morning, she convinced him to let her leave to get food from the cafeteria. That’s when she went to the university’s security office and told them she was being abused. They notified police, and police noted black, blue and red marks on her neck, the complaint says.

Police found Labatte in the dorm room, the complaint says, and arrested him on probable cause of domestic assault and sexual assault.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Labatte was still in custody.

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