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Suspect in missing student case faced previous allegations

Police searched along a highway in Keswick, Va., on Thursday for Hannah Graham.Steve Helber/Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The man charged with abducting a missing University of Virginia student was accused of sexual assault at two colleges more than a decade ago, but did not face charges in either case.

The allegations came to light after Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was arrested last week and charged with abduction with intent to defile 18-year-old Hannah Graham, who disappeared about three weeks ago after a night out with friends. Matthew has now been linked to Graham, the disappearance and death of a Virginia Tech student, and three sexual assault allegations.

In 2003, while Matthew was a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, he was accused of sexual assault and left the school about a month later. School officials did not explain why he left or was never charged.


One year earlier, while a student at Liberty University, he was accused of raping a student on campus, but the matter was dropped when the student did not want to move forward with the prosecution.

Virginia State Police have said a ‘‘forensic link’’ connects Matthew to the 2009 case of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, whose body was found in a hayfield three months after she vanished. That case, in turn, has been linked by DNA evidence to the rape of a woman in Fairfax, Va., the FBI has said.

Associated Press