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Y. ousts suspect in 2 rapes

PROVO — Brigham Young University expelled a student and banned him from campus last week after Springville police arrested the 24-year-old man in connection with two sexual assault cases.

Two unrelated women told police they met the man through an online dating service that caters to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Springville Police Lt. Dave Caron said.

These are the second and third reported cases in two months where a woman has alleged sexual assault after agreeing on an LDS dating Web site to meet a man in Utah County.

The first woman in the two Springville cases said she dated the man a few times before Aug. 19. On that day she said she went to his Springville home to watch a movie and he allegedly raped her.

She went to a Salt Lake area hospital for a rape exam, and hospital officials called police.

The second woman agreed to meet the man for the first time on Oct. 4 at the Denny's in Provo. After eating, she said they went to watch a movie at his home, where she alleged that he groped her.

The man told police the sex was consensual in both cases, according to a court document filed by Springville police officer David Sorenson.

The two women are in their late 20s or 30s and apparently not BYU students. Caron said the man's former status as a BYU student is not relevant to either case.

However, Springville and BYU police did attempt to arrest the man on Oct. 5 during a world civilization class in the Harold B. Lee Library on the university's campus, but he didn't attend the class, BYU Police Captain Michael Harroun said.

Springville police arrested him later in the day at his home and booked him into the Utah County Jail, Caron said.

Fourth District Judge Lynn Davis set bail at $50,000 and ordered the man to have no contact with the two women, according to court documents. The man posted a bond on Oct. 6 and was released from jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 22.

The Utah County Attorney's Office is screening the case to determine if charges will be filed. The Deseret Morning News generally does not publish the names of people connected with crimes unless they have been charged.

BYU banned the man from campus on Oct. 6, university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said. A "banning committee" composed of officials from Student Life, the Honor Code Office and other areas of campus made the decision, she said.

Caron said Springville police were still investigating the August incident when the second allegation surfaced.

Last month, Orem police arrested Sean Register, 33, a Utah State Prison corrections officer. He is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old Pleasant Grove woman.

The young woman said she corresponded with the man through an LDS online dating service for a few weeks before agreeing to meet him in an Orem parking lot on Sept. 11. She said they went to the man's nearby residence and that he raped her.

Detectives used information gathered from Web site administrators; several LDS-oriented Web sites carry disclaimers notifying users their information may be released to law enforcement officials if requested.

Register waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. He remained in custody Wednesday at the Utah County Jail on $100,000 bail. Register is scheduled to enter a plea on Oct. 26.

Caron urged other victims of sexual assault to come forward and cautioned people in new relationships.

"When people meet people, whether at work, church, a singles bar or online, they just have to be careful, because bad guys don't go around with a name tag that says, 'Hi, I'm Bill, I'm a bad person.'

"No matter where you met somebody, whether an online dating service or listening to a Sunday sermon, you need to be careful."


E-mail: twalch@desnews.com