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7 Years Later, Facebook Message Leads to Arrest Warrant

Shannon Keeler was raped at Gettysburg College in 2013
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 30, 2021 4:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 30, 2021 6:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – While she pleaded for prosecutors to take up her college rape complaint, Shannon Keeler studied in Spain, won a national championship in lacrosse, earned a bachelor's degree, and fell in love. All the while, she gathered evidence from the freshman year attack and passed it on to investigators. Here are the names of people who saw the upperclassman stalk me at the frat party in 2013. Here's the phone number of the friend who saw him follow me home. Here's the name of the hospital where my coach took me for a rape kit. And then, just last year: Here's a recent message from his Facebook account that says, “So I raped you." After verifying the account, and after Keeler told her story to the AP, a new team of police and prosecutors on Tuesday obtained an arrest warrant, charging Ian Cleary, 28, of Saratoga, Calif., with sexually assaulting Keeler when they were students at Gettysburg College in 2013.

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Police say they had not yet located him, and aren't sure where he is. So it's still not clear whether Keeler will see the case go to trial, the AP reports. “While I am moved to tears by this result, which I have waited for (for) over seven years, I am mindful that this moment came because I went public with my story, which no survivor should have to do in order to obtain justice,” Keeler, now 26, said in a statement issued through her lawyer. Keeler had discussed her experience in the AP story that detailed the frequent reluctance among prosecutors to file charges in campus rape cases. Authorities told Keeler it was difficult to prosecute cases when the victim had been drinking, she said. The rape kit was later lost or destroyed. The Gettysburg Police Department reopened the case last year after Keeler showed them a flurry of messages that appeared to come from Cleary's Facebook account. (More on the alleged crime here.)

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