‘So I raped you’ Facebook message detained in France on 2021

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In Lyon, France, Ian Thomas Cleary, a 31-year-old American from Saratoga, California, has been apprehended after evading authorities for three years. Cleary allegedly sexually assaulted a college student in Pennsylvania in 2013 and subsequently sent her a troubling Facebook message containing the phrase, “So I raped you.”
‘So I raped you’ Facebook message detained in France on 2021
‘So I raped you’ Facebook message detained in France on 2021

The arrest follows an extensive international search triggered by a 2021 felony warrant issued in Pennsylvania, which gained attention after an Associated Press report highlighted local prosecutors’ reluctance to pursue campus sex crimes.

The arrest warrant details allegations that Cleary stalked an 18-year-old student at Gettysburg College, sneaking into her dorm and sexually assaulting her while she texted friends for help. Cleary, a former Gettysburg student at the time of the incident, did not return to campus afterward.

According to a French judicial official, Cleary was detained during a routine police check on April 24 in Metz. During questioning, Cleary claimed to have arrived in France two or three years ago from Albania and had recently moved to Metz without permanent housing.

Efforts to reach Cleary’s appointed French lawyer for comment have been unsuccessful. Cleary has previously spent time in France and has ties to California and Maryland, where his father is a Silicon Valley tech executive and his mother resides in Baltimore. The AP’s attempts to contact Cleary and his parents for comment have been unanswered.

Shannon Keeler, the accuser from Gettysburg, underwent a rape exam on the same day of her assault in 2013. She diligently collected witnesses and evidence over the years, pushing authorities to pursue charges. In 2021, she alerted officials to Facebook messages seemingly sent from Ian Cleary’s account, containing disturbing statements like “So I raped you” and “I’ll never do it to anyone ever again.”

Police confirmed that the messages came from Cleary’s Facebook account, as detailed in the June 2021 warrant filed by Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett. Sinnett was not available for comment on Tuesday.

Keeler, who has granted permission for her name to be used, has been advocating for justice in her case. Her lawyer declined to comment on Cleary’s recent detention.

After leaving Gettysburg, Cleary pursued education and employment in California, working for Tesla before relocating to France for several years. His self-published medieval fiction is detailed on his website.

In contrast, Keeler remained at Gettysburg, graduating and helping lead the women’s lacrosse team to a national championship.

Despite a red notice from Interpol, Cleary managed to evade capture for years, prompting questions from Keeler and her legal team about how he was able to elude digital tracking. The low prosecution rates for campus rapes across the U.S. reflect victims’ hesitance to come forward and the challenges faced by prosecutors in pursuing such cases.

Keeler expressed gratitude when the warrant was issued but stressed that no survivor should have to go public to seek justice.

 

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