Former Carleton Football Player Charged With Sexual Assault

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Carleton College football player is accused of sexual assault in connection with an incident back in late April that resulted in the suspensions of 13 students, according to charges filed in Rice County Court.

Taariq Muhammad Vanegas, 19 of Seattle, Wash., was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the April 28 incident. He’s listed on the school’s web site as a sophomore at Carleton.

According to a complaint, Northfield police learned on May 3 that a report of a sexual assault had been filed. The victim met with investigators that day and identified the suspect as Vanegas.

The complaint states the victim told police she received an email from a pseudo name “Rich Otter,” that she was selected to take part in a tradition of excellence and would regret not taking advantage of it. She was supposed to meet at the school’s Japanese Garden behind Watson Hall at 2 a.m. April 28.

The email states she was not supposed to speak of the event to anyone, and was advised to not drink alcohol before. She was also supposed to dress in black, dress warmly and for the outdoors.

The complaint states the victim arrived for the event and was with about 12 other students, along with a box of alcohol and a note that said they were going on an adventure and drink the alcohol. A masked student arrived and told the group if they didn’t want to be involved, they should leave within five minutes. Nobody left.

The victim and other students were provided jello shots, beer, hard alcohol and bags of wine, were sent to several places to perform various tasks and eventually initiated into a group called “DTX.” The victim told investigators she remembered most of the night leading up to a bonfire, then blacked out. She fell, Vanegas picked her up and told her it would OK and to walk straight. She blacked out again.

The complaint states the next thing she remembered was being in a bed with Vanegas on top of her and telling her she was “so cute.” She remembered being naked. She blacked out again and vaguely remembered being in a room with two students who were also intoxicated and telling them to give her some pants. She eventually went to the hospital, where she remembered having an IV put in and talking to a doctor.

The complaint states she woke up at about 10:30 a.m. on April 28 in her bed on campus and still drunk. She got a text message from Vanegas at 11:46 a.m., saying he had her Carleton ID and other belongings.

That night, the victim asked Vanegas if they had sex because she didn’t remember anything. Vanegas told her via text that they did have sex and he used a condom. The victim went to get her things and “freaked out” because she didn’t remember having sex with him.

The complaint states campus security told the victim two men told them she wandered into their room with only a T-shirt at about 5 a.m. and went to sleep.

The victim went to the Northfield Emergency Department to get a sexual assault examination. While there, she got a blood draw that showed a blood alcohol content of .24 at 7:30 a.m. on April 28, hours after the incident.

The complaint states Vanegas spoke with police on May 19 and said his alcohol consumption during the incident was “managed” because he had to be at the gym at 6 a.m. He said the victim initiated the sexual encounter and that they had consensual sex.

If convicted, Vanegas faces up to 15 years in jail and a $30,000 fine. He’s no longer listed on the football team’s roster.

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