Uncovering the details of the Alleged Sexual Assault on Campus
Leah Phillips, Staff Writer
April 9, 2012
As the suspect in the alleged rape works his way through the courts, rumors and unanswered questions remain about the events that took place in the SRJC Quinn Swim Center on March 16.
Marco Antonio DeAnda-Vargas, 30, and the reported rape victim, 23, were acquainted through a Thursday night class and left together the night of the alleged rape, according to District Police and SRPD.
DeAnda-Vargas is still in custody for the charges filed against him: sexual penetration against will, sodomy by use of force and rape by force/fear, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s criminal case on DeAnda-Vargas.
There are two on-going investigations. Santa Rosa Police Department is handling the reported rape case. SRJC District Police are investigating how DeAnda-Vargas obtained keys to enter the Quinn Swim Center, District Police Lt. Dave Willat said.
DeAnda-Vargas pleaded not guilty to the three charges on March 28 and has a preliminary readiness conference scheduled for April 9 and the preliminary hearing on April 11. Both hearings are at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 1 at Sonoma Superior Court.
“To me he [DeAnda-Vargas] is harmless,” said an SRJC instructor who has known DeAnda-Vargas for about eight years through her classes “I never thought of him as a threat in a million years.”
He has even walked the instructor and a long-time classmate to their cars after class.“[He] seemed to be looking out for safety,” said to an SRJC student who has known DeAnda-Vargas for about eight years.
Lt. Willat said Sgt. Steven Potter is receiving tips and calls that contradict the “harmless” remarks about DeAnda-Vargas. Another student said he seemed creepy.
Sexual batteries (being touched on the buttocks or breast without consent) are more common than sexual assaults (forcible rape, digital penetrations—digital meaning finger-like objects) yet many cases go unreported.
The December 2011 issue of the American College Health Association reported that 5.9 percent of college students were sexually touched without their consent in the last 12 months.
Eighty to 90 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses are committed by acquaintances, usually of the same race, said Lt. Willat, who researched about sexual assaults on campuses nationally.