SAINT PAUL, Minnesota- A 19-year-old man faces serious charges after allegedly subjecting a woman to a three-day ordeal of physical and sexual assault in her dorm room at St. Catherine University. The suspect, Keanu Avery Labatte, was arrested on Sunday, following the woman’s escape and subsequent report to university security.
The woman, who had been dating Labatte for two months, told police that the assault began after Labatte found certain text messages and social media information on her phone that angered him. Labatte, who had traveled from his home in Granite Falls, about 135 miles west of the university, for a weekend visit, allegedly took her phone and began a series of assaults.
According to the woman’s account, Labatte raped her, strangled her, and threatened to kill her and her family. She also reported that he reminded her of a previous incident where he had held a knife to an ex-girlfriend’s throat. At the time of the alleged assault, Labatte was on probation for violating a harassment/restraining order.
The woman described Saturday as the worst day of the ordeal, alleging that Labatte subjected her to waterboarding and threatened to cut her veins. She managed to escape on Sunday morning, convincing Labatte to let her go to the cafeteria. She immediately reported the incident to the university security office, who then notified the police.
Upon arrest, Labatte was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, domestic assault by strangulation, and threats of violence. He is currently being held on a $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for October 9.
St. Catherine University has declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, citing student confidentiality and the potential for re-traumatization. However, the university has confirmed that it is reviewing its response to the incident and has resources available to assist students in the aftermath.