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Former MIT student arraigned in BU rape case

Samson Donick was taken into custody during his arraignment Wednesday. He later posted bail and was released.
Samson Donick was taken into custody during his arraignment Wednesday. He later posted bail and was released. Angela Rowlings/ POOL

When the young woman awoke in her Boston University dorm room around 2:30 a.m. to find a strange man sexually assaulting her, she immediately ordered him to stop. The assailant refused, a prosecutor said in court Wednesday.

“Baby,” he allegedly told the woman, “you want some more.”

The details emerged as Samson Donick, a former MIT student, was arraigned on rape charges in the alleged October attack, which the woman’s lawyer said defied even the disturbing conventions of campus sexual assault in its brazen, seemingly random nature.

Donick, 20, pleaded not guilty as his lawyer argued that the government faces “problems of proof” in prosecuting the former college basketball player.

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Prosecutors said Donick and three other males had been signed into the Student Village 2 dormitory around 2 a.m., before he and another male began looking for a female student they knew.

Prosecutors said Donick tried to get into at least one room in the suite they were visiting, and later entered 10 rooms on four floors in the span of about a half-hour. Donick allegedly went into one of those rooms alone and sexually assaulted the woman.

The 20-year-old woman managed to pull a blanket around herself as Donick fled, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Lynn Feigenbaum said. The woman ran into another room and alerted a roommate and the roommate’s boyfriend.

“While crying and screaming, she shook them awake and told them what had happened,” Feigenbaum said in Suffolk Superior Court. The university sent a message alerting students to the incident, and many others reported intrusions into their rooms.

BU campus police said the case was difficult because the victim and suspect did not know each other. In a statement, Chief Thomas Robbins said the length of time it took for the case to come together reflects “how intense this investigation was.”

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Security images from the dormitory helped lead campus police to Donick, who left MIT in the fall after learning that he might face charges, his lawyer said in court documents.

Last month, a grand jury indicted Donick on charges of aggravated rape, breaking and entering at night with the intent to commit a felony, burglary, and indecent assault and battery. Donick now lives in California, and MIT officials say he is not listed as a student.

In court Wednesday, Clerk Magistrate Lisa Medeiros ordered Donick to stay away from the BU campus and keep out of Massachusetts unless he is coming to court or meeting with his lawyer. Medeiros set bail at $10,000, which Donick later posted.

Donick’s lawyer, Norman Zalkind, said Donick eagerly awaits the opportunity to clear his name.

“We’re looking forward to the true facts coming out in this case,” he said. Zalkind said that Donick has “wonderful character.”

He said in court documents that Donick had no previous criminal record, was a strong student, and had been the MIT basketball team’s head of community service.

Donick will not be required to appear at his next court date on June 22.

As the case moves forward, the woman is struggling to recover from the shock of the assault, her attorney said.

Wendy Murphy, a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault cases on campuses, said the allegations are unlike any she has seen.

“I can’t recall a similarly horrific crime, in the sense that the victim was sound asleep in her own bedroom,” Murphy said. “It’s difficult to imagine a more traumatic event for a person to go through.”

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Murphy said the legal process has been empowering for the woman, who continues to attend BU. The woman is also awaiting word on potential disciplinary action against Donick by MIT. MIT officials could not be reached for further comment.


Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andyrosen.