A Northwestern University student was allegedly seen sexually assaulting a woman described by witnesses as "lifeless," leading to his expulsion from the school.
Scott Thomas, 20, a freshman from Bernardsville, New Jersey, was charged with criminal sexual assault. Thomas has been accused of assaulting a woman he met at a soccer party on the night of March 15. He was expelled from the school shortly thereafter, prosecutors said.
Students leaving the school's library at 2 a.m. on March 16 told prosecutors that they saw Thomas had pinned a woman, described as "lifeless," to a glass door and forced himself upon her, according to The Chicago Tribune. One witness claimed that a student attempted to intervened and was able to stop Thomas, prosecutors said. Police were then alerted, but the victim, who could not stand on her own or speak coherently, was unable to identify herself and was taken to a hospital. Surveillance video shows the woman attempting to thwart Thomas' advances several times before being forcibly held upright against the door.
A public safety announcement posted on Northwestern University's website confirmed the charges.
The victim, who remains unnamed in reports, says she does not remember the incident. She suffered bruising, redness, and scratches on her upper lip, arms, and wrist. A criminal sexual assault examination was administered at the hospital.
Thomas was taken into police custody on March 19 and has since been banned from Northwestern's campus, ordered not to leave the county, and barred from contacting the woman he is accused of attacking.
Defense attorney Jeff Urdangen has argued in court that this is an example of “drunken sex."
“This is an unfortunate situation,” said Urdangen, who urged courts to allow Thomas to return to his family home. “Things will get sorted out as they go along.”
Northwestern University officials have not offered a comment on the situation and have not confirmed Thomas' status as a student, citing privacy laws. They also refused to comment on disciplinary actions they may have taken.
The Thomas family has offered no comment.
Bond has been set by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anjana Hansen at $50,000. Thomas is schedule to appear in court again on April 3.
Students in need of emotional support are being encouraged to reach out to the school's Center for Awareness, Response & Prevention (CARE), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Religious and Spiritual Life organization. Support has been offered to those involved in the incident.
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