MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 22-year-old Minneapolis man is facing charges after he allegedly met a woman on the light rail last month, offered to smoke marijuana with her and, when they got off the train, raped her at knife-point.
Avery Darius Oliphant is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with injury, court documents filed this week in Ramsey County show.
According to a criminal complaint, the assault happened on the evening of July 9. The victim told police that she met Oliphant on a light rail train in Minneapolis.
She said that Oliphant approached her and asked if she wanted to smoke pot. The woman said yes, explaining that it was the anniversary of her father’s death and she wanted to feel “numb.”
The two got off the train in St. Paul, either at the Raymond Avenue Station or the Fairview Avenue Station. Oliphant led the woman to an industrial area with railroad tracks.
The two smoked, and Oliphant asked if she wanted to have sex. She said no. Then he pulled out a knife, telling her: “It’s time for you to drop them drawers,” the complaint states.
He then raped her.
After, Oliphant forced the woman to get up and walk with him at knife-point. When the woman saw an opportunity, she tried to run away screaming, but Oliphant caught her. He hit her in the face several times and choked her, the victim told police.
Oliphant then led the woman to a Subway restaurant on University Avenue. The business was not open, but the door was unlocked. Oliphant told the victim to clean herself up.
While in the bathroom, the woman texted her boyfriend, telling him she’d been raped, the complaint states. Oliphant then busted through the bathroom door, made her take off her clothes and raped her a second time.
Again, the woman saw a moment to escape and took it. She ran out of the Subway naked, yelling for help. Surveillance video captured the scene, as well as images of Oliphant.
Last Friday, a St. Paul officer saw someone matching Oliphant’s description, wearing similar clothes to those he was allegedly weariing the night of the assault, including a fanny pack slung across his body.
The victim picked Oliphant out of a six-person photo lineup. Additionally, Oliphant’s mother identified him from still images of the surveillance video.
In an interview with police, he denied raping the woman, saying he was in Chicago. He also did not comply with a search warrant for his DNA, leaving police to use force to get a cheek swab. The results of the DNA test were not given in the criminal complaint.
If convicted for the criminal sexual conduct charge, Oliphant faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. He is being held in jail on $100,000 bail.
Officials say that Oliphant has previously been convicted for aggravated robbery in St. Louis County.