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Ex-USU student, frat member sentenced to jail for sexually assaulting two women

Jason Relopez, 28.
Jason Relopez, 28.
Eli Lucero

LOGAN — A former Utah State University student and fraternity brother who sexually assaulted two women from the school's Greek system has been sentenced to one year in jail.

Jason Brian Relopez, who turned 28 last week, pleaded guilty earlier this year to sexually assaulting two younger women — one when they started making out while studying late in her home, and the other after a night of drinking at the fraternity house.

Relopez was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail to be followed by a release to a sex offender treatment program, his attorney, Shannon Demler, confirmed.

However, that sentence could change if Relopez chooses to complete a psychosexual evaluation during his year in jail, Demler said. If the evaluation found Relopez to be at low risk to reoffend, he could be released from jail. However, if Relopez came out as high risk or undetermined, he would be sent to prison.

As of Tuesday, Relopez intended to serve the year in jail, Demler said.

Relopez pleaded guilty in February to reduced charges of attempted rape, a first-degree felony, and attempted forcible sexual abuse, a third-degree felony. He was originally charged with aggravated sexual assault and rape, both first-degree felonies. An earlier charge of aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, was dropped prior to a preliminary hearing.

Both women met Relopez through the school's Greek system, they testified at the preliminary hearing last August. They described how they had been spending time with Relopez when he became violent and frightening.

A 19-year-old woman said she was at a party at the Sigma Chi fraternity house in July when she ended up alone in Relopez's room. They were kissing when Relopez slapped her and began a night of abuse and demoralizing sexual encounters that she couldn't object to without putting herself at risk, she testified.

Before raping her multiple times, the woman testified Relopez told her, "I will win tonight because I am stronger than you, and we both know it."

A 20-year-old woman also testified she had been studying with Relopez at her house late one night in October 2014 when they began kissing. Though she said no when Relopez asked if she wanted to "go all the way," Relopez pinned her and raped her, the woman said.

"I asked him to stop three times or so. I said, 'I don't want to do this,'" the woman said. "It was like I wasn't even there. I was completely ignored."

Ashamed, she said she contacted school officials but did not approach police until she heard of the second woman's allegations.

In a letter directed to 1st District Judge Brian Cannell, the father of the 19-year-old woman described the long-term trauma his daughter still battles. Of his three daughters, it was the one who stayed closest to home who found herself in the greatest danger, he lamented.

"We have to hope for the day that (our daughter) will be well again," the father wrote. "One of the critical pieces to being able to have that happen is to know that Relopez cannot ever be a threat again. We recognize that he cannot be locked up forever, but with an additional two plus years and then being moved to California, we feel that these young women can begin their very bright futures."

The father went on to praise the courage the two women showed in reporting the assaults, to thank the prosecutors and victim's advocates they worked with, and to commend Cannell for how he handled the case and the fact that he kept Relopez in custody as it was adjudicated.

Relopez was ultimately dismissed from both Utah State University and the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero