Canton freshman John Rubio was arraigned Tuesday in the Isabella Trial Courthouse on charges resulting from an incident that occurred Sunday morning in Merrill Hall.
The 18-year-old was charged with one count of first-degree home invasion, criminal sexual conduct with intent of penetration, fourth-degree sexual misconduct and two counts of assault and battery. The incident occurred around 3 a.m., CMU Police said.
Police were called to the scene by residence hall staff about an hour later at 4:01 a.m., according to CMUPD Lt. Cameron Wassman. Two officers arrived at 4:10, and Rubio was arrested immediately and en route to Isabella County Jail at 4:53 a.m.
“By the time we arrived, some time had passed,” Wassman said. (The arrest) was within minutes. He was in custody within the hour.”
After the assaults, Rubio left the room and returned to his own Merrill Hall room where he was later arrested.
Wassman was unable to release Rubio’s blood-alcohol content, but said the investigation showed he was intoxicated.
“The information we got from the call was that a male subject, who was intoxicated, entered a person’s room,” Wassman said. “Based on what the hall staff was saying, he was noticeably intoxicated.”
CMUPD will lead the investigation. Wassman said the victim and suspect did know each other, but did not believe there was “any other kind of association.”
“There were two other roommates there at the time that were the victims of the second assault and battery, which in this case was essentially pushing,” Wassman said. “There were the girls who lived in the room, one additional witness and the suspect.”
Police did not find any evidence of the suspect trying to enter other rooms.
A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 7, and Rubio’s bond was posted. He resigned from classes at CMU following the incident. He was also served protective conditions to stay away from the three female students.
“Under these conditions, I advise you not to make contact with these girls,” said Magistrate Sandra Straus, who presided over the arraignment.
Students react to mass email
Although no Central Alert was sent out concerning the incident, CMUPD emailed a notice on Monday morning to all students informing them of the assaults, urging them to keep residence hall doors closed and locked.
“Given the event, the suspect was apprehended so quickly, there was no immediate threat,” Wassman said.
Later that day, Student Government Association President Marie Reimers sent an email to CMUPD Chief Bill Yeagley detailing perceived “insensitivity” in the wording of the letter toward victims of sexual assault. She said SGA received several complaints from students in the wake of the message.
“We felt some of the wording was insensitive to survivors,” Reimers said. “I hope in the future, they take the extra time to be more sensitive to the campus community.”
In her letter to CMUPD, Reimers said the original email’s header, “Residence hall students reminded to lock doors,” placed blame on the victims.
She also referred to the police’s use of the term, “simple assault,” and the statement that victims were not injured, diminished the serious nature of sexual assault and the case itself. Reimers provided a replacement letter to be issued by CMUPD.
“Education is important to understand why these things happen, to not blame the victim for this,” Reimers said. “(Police) apologized profusely.”
Reimers hoped students will continue to exercise good judgment to stay safe in the residence halls.
“When it comes down to it, there is no right way to be safe all the time,” Reimers said. “It’s very ignorant for us to assume there is a right way to protect yourself from sexual assault.”
Kai Niezgoda, SGA’s press secretary and president of CMU’s transgender student organization Transcend, said Students Advocating for Gender Equality received several complaints on social media and worked with SGA to create the response for CMUPD. He said victim blaming was their biggest problem with the letter.
“The main thing was victim blaming,” Niezgoda said. “Implicitly focusing on what victims can do, and placing responsibility on victims, rather than the assailant. There were multiple people who had concerns, and brought it up on social media.”
Niezgoda also pointed out the letter’s statements that victims sustained no injuries. He said this portion ignored the emotional impact of such crimes.
“Emotionally, I don’t think it’s accurate to say victims of sexual assault do not sustain injury,” he said. “I just hope just having the conversation will improve reporting on sexual assault.”
Staff Reporter Stephen Cross contributed to this report.