Media — District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced today that Villanova University student Iyanu Elijah Solomon, 19, of Reisterstown, MD, has been charged with attempted sexual assault, a felony, as well as misdemeanor charges of indecent assault, simple assault and unlawful restraint. If convicted, the defendant could face a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment. The investigation was conducted by Villanova’s Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, David Tedjeske.
“As the case we announce today make clear, campus sexual assault is a pervasive problem. National statistics indicate that 13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault – and in a significant percentage of those cases, the victim knew the perpetrator,” said DA Stollsteimer. “We recognize that pressing criminal charges is an agonizing decision for victims. My office works very hard every day to avoid re-traumatizing victims as their cases work their way through our justice system,” said Stollsteimer, “but there is no escaping the fact that the process can be long and hard. I want to commend the victim in this case for having the courage to come forward in order to protect their campus community from further harm.”
On August 12, 2020, the Chief of Police at Villanova University was notified by University staff about an incident that had occurred in September 2019. The victim – a female student — had reported that a male resident student had forcibly attempted to engage in oral and vaginal sex with the victim. The victim reported the incident to her resident assistant approximately two weeks after it had occurred but had decided against filing a police report at that time. In August 2020, however, the victim met with the Villanova University police and the victim’s written statement was obtained. The victim did not, however, elect to pursue criminal charges. In February 2021, however, the victim decided that she wanted to pursue criminal charges and reported that she had been subjected to ongoing harassment by the defendant. In March 2021 the victim met with representatives from the District Attorney’s Office.
The victim told investigators that she met the defendant prior to the start of their freshman year in May 2019. She stated that they were never romantic or intimate, but that the defendant began asking her to send him nude pictures of herself, which she refused to do. On September 2, 2019, the defendant sent the victim a text saying, “we need to talk.” Almost immediately upon her arrival at the defendant’s room, the defendant’s roommate departed, and the defendant began asking her to have sex and calling her a “tease.” The victim continued to resist the defendant’s advances, until she was pinned to the bed. Although she struggled to free herself, the defendant, a football player, was able to keep the victim restrained. In an effort to get out of the situation, the victim agreed to perform oral sex on the defendant. She then attempted to flee the room, but the defendant grabbed her from behind and threw her to the floor. The victim was eventually able to crawl from the defendants’ room, having suffered pain and bruising as a result of the incident.
In an unrelated incident, on March 1, 2021, two resident female students reported that they had been sexually assaulted by the same known male student in University residence halls. These reports prompted a campus wide alert on March 3, 2021. Upon receiving these reports, the University began an investigation and the male student is no longer on campus. The DA’s Office, in consultation with victims, has not filed criminal charges at this time.
DA Stollsteimer stated “I want to express my appreciation for the excellent work done by the Villanova Public Safety Department, particularly Chief David Tedjeske and Investigator Kim Carter. I also want to commend the work of Assistant District Attorney Chris Boggs and his team in the Special Victims Unit. This case demonstrates the importance of the collaboration between the District Attorney’s Office and the University’s Public Safety Department. We are united in our mission: to keep the students who come to Delaware County for college safe, and to ensure justice for victims.”
The defendant has been released on bail.
CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNLESS AND UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.
The District Attorney and the Criminal Investigations Division remind anyone in Delaware County who observes suspicious activity to call 911 immediately and provide the most specific and accurate details possible to assist law enforcement agencies investigating the call for service.
For press inquiries, please contact Margie McAboy, Public Information Officer, Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, 610-579-0429.