PHILADELPHIA — Two years after a Gettysburg University alum was finally charged with sexual assault on her campus in 2013, the man under suspicion sent her a Facebook message that read: : “So I raped you,” still hiding.
Shannon Keeler, 28, and her attorneys question how Ian T. Cleary avoids arrest in an age where people are tracked by cell phones, internet connections, security cameras and purchases by phone. credit. Investigators led by the US Marshals Service believe the 30-year-old man from Silicon Valley is likely overseas and on the move.
“How does he support me financially? How can he travel abroad without being detected? Did he fake his identity?” Andrea Levy, legal director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, who represents Keeler, asked. “Who’s helping him?”
Keeler was sexually assaulted on a snowy December night in her dorm room. She texted friends for help even before he fled and went to the police the same day.
For years, local officials denied her request to file a complaint, even after she showed them the startling Facebook messages she discovered in 2020. reversed course a few weeks after she went public in an Associated Press story examining the reluctance of local agencies to prosecute sex on campus. assaults.
For Keeler, the years in limbo were painful, even as she moved forward with her life and career. She works for a software company and is getting married this fall. But she remains on high alert for an arrest that could come at any time, knowing that a trial could disrupt her life for months or even years.
“She had to push and push and put herself out there… and then he literally got on with his life. It’s hard to measure that impact on her as a person, (and on) her family, her partner,” Levy said. “There is a cost. There is a real human cost. It’s someone’s life.”
After leaving Gettysburg, Cleary, 30, a graduate of Santa Clara University, near family in Saratoga, California, worked for Tesla, then moved to France for a few years, according to the website that describes the medieval novel itself. his publication.
Adams District Attorney Brian Sinnett, who filed an arrest warrant on June 29, 2021, called the search time “a bit uncomfortable.”
“I just think this person is accessing the resource from somewhere,” Sinnett said.
Neither Cleary’s father in California, a marketing executive who served as a professor and trustee at Santa Clara, nor his mother in Baltimore have responded to messages this month seeking comment.
The US sheriff said the search was still active. An Interpol Red Notice has been issued, asking police agencies worldwide to arrest Cleary, even though he is not yet listed in a public database, which includes several dozen rapes and sexual assault.
“We tried and tried a lot,” said U.S. Deputy Marshal Phil Lewis, supervisor of the office in the Central District of Pennsylvania. “Any crime against women and children we take very seriously and we prioritize those types of cases.”
As the #MeToo movement continues to shape society — and some adults, including accusers Bill Cosby and Donald Trump, use the courts to claim monetary damages if it’s too late to do so. criminal charges — college students are also seeking accountability.
In California, students are lobbying for campus health centers to provide rape kits or pay for victims in pain to go to the hospital for examination. Many states are requiring universities to survey students about sexual assault surroundings, and groups like End Rape on Campus are working on tools to make school data more accessible.
And a number of law enforcement agencies have shown long-term commitment, including the police who have been at the forefront of advances in DNA science to make an arrest in 2000 in a knife-rape case. on the Penn State golf course.
In 2004, they matched DNA to an unsolved 1999 golf course rape case in Michigan. In 2011, they filed an arrest warrant for “John Doe,” identifying the subject solely by his DNA before the 12-year statute of limitations in Pennsylvania expired. Using genetic pedigrees, they identified this year’s suspect as Kurt Rillema, a Michigan business owner, and matched DNA samples with a coffee mug he had thrown away at a Lexus dealership before charging him. us in both cases.
“Police are often beaten for doing wrong things. Attorney Conor Lamb, who sued Rillema last month on behalf of Penn State’s accuser, a 42-year-old woman from suburban Philadelphia, said.
Rilemma’s attorneys plan to challenge the privacy issues raised by the genetic investigation, particularly over how to get his DNA from a coffee mug without a warrant.
“Everybody wants to solve old crimes, but the process is so invasive and when it’s done without a warrant, people should think about that. It’s creepy and scary,” said defense attorney Deanna Kelley in suburban Detroit.
Meanwhile, in Gettysburg, a small town known for its Civil War history, Sinnet said there is now more coordination between the campus and local police, in the hope that more rape victims are in town. the university can go to court.
Keeler is still waiting for that day, nearly a decade after she reported the assault and Cleary left the school, ending the university’s Title IX investigation.
“Since then, he has once again been on the run from this charge,” she said, while trying to “finally close this never-ending painful chapter of my life.” ___ Follow Legal Matters Writer Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at