Colorado Mesa University was not told of the alleged rape that occurred on campus in February until the release of the April 5 arrest affidavit.
Freshman Carlos Vendegna, 19, is charged with two counts of sexual assault and and one count of unlawful sexual contact with a female juvenile. According to the Grand Junction Police Department affidavit, the victim and a friend allegedly went to a house party, where she became intoxicated.
She did not remember much after she became intoxicated, but she found herself waking up in Vendegna’s dorm room in Wingate Hall. She went to use the restroom, where she noticed a small amount of blood coming from her vagina, while also experiencing pain in her vagina.
Later, Vendegna allegedly sent several text messages to the victim saying, “What I did to you was so unlawful and inhumane, that I know it hurt soo soo bad,” “I’ve replayed that night over and over in my head and wish that nothing would have ever happened,” “I know what I did was wrong and I regret every second of it” and “I raped you and that is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
When police talked to Vendegna, he allegedly said the victim fell asleep in his bed with her clothes on and he then removed her pants and had sexual intercourse. He quitted saying, “he was feeling bad about what he was doing.”
According to the police report, the police showed Vendegna the text messages to which he said he wrote the messages.
While CMU cannot talk about the case as it is currently going on, the school can talk about the process if a sexual assault happens on campus.
Vice President for Student Service, John Marshall, explained that if sexual harassment or sexual assault happens on campus that students have a phone number they can call.
“A student can call the SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) hotline, which is available for every student,” Marshall said. “Those first responders take those phone calls and at that point a student can remain anonymous or not. But what we are going to do out of the gate is to make sure that student is safe.”
Marshall also said that the university will help the student find a safe home and provide them with health care options with the student health care clinic. Also CMU will call the police if the student wants to involve law enforcement.
If a student files a complaint against another student, the university will then do a separate investigate with a Title IX investigator.
“Ultimately [the case] could go down to a student conduct hearing, where if found responsible a student, who has alleged to violate our sexual misconduct policy they could be expelled,” Marshall said.
Vendegna appeared in court on Wednesday, where his court date was pushed back to Tuesday. His case will be seen by District Court Chief Judge Brian Flynn on Tuesday.
The SART hotline is a 24/7 phone service which students can call if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed. The phone number is 970 270 5895.