A onetime Bethel University football player has been charged with raping three students in a span of less than three months while he attended the school late last year.
Gideon O. Erhabor, 21, of McKinney, Texas, was charged Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the rapes that occurred on or near the Christian-based private school’s Arden Hills campus in the fall of 2018.
Sheriff’s deputies caught up with Erhabor in his hometown, and he told them each case involved consensual sex, according to the charging documents.
Erhabor was arrested Tuesday in Texas and remains jailed there Thursday pending extradition to Minnesota.
Erhabor was a running back for Bethel in 2017 and 2018. The graduate of McKinney Christian Academy was majoring in business before he left Bethel at the end of 2018.
John Addleman, special assistant to the university president’s office, declined to say whether Erhabor was disciplined by the school before his departure.
A campuswide notice in connection with the assaults was sent Thursday by Bethel’s administration, more than seven months after two of the women went to university officials with their allegations.
“We are saddened and concerned by this news and are committed to cooperating with law enforcement,” read the statement from Michael Vedders, Bethel’s chief enrollment and marketing officer. “As a community, we strive to ensure our campus is a safe, welcoming and respectful place for our students to learn and our employees to work. ... Please join us in prayer for all those involved.”
According to the charges against Erhabor:
An 18-year-old student said she was invited by Erhaborto his dorm room on Sept. 11, 2018, to watch a movie.
While in his room, she turned him down for sex, but he forcibly kissed and groped her before raping her.
In the second case, a 19-year-old student said she was at a house party on Oct. 6, 2018, in Roseville and drank two alcoholic drinks. About 2 a.m. she went outside and felt disoriented. Later that morning, she awoke in a friend’s apartment “totally confused about what happened the night before.”
On Nov. 30, Erhabor came to her room and got in bed with her, and she told him she didn’t want to have sex. Erhabor asked why and explained they had sex at the house party in October.
Erhabor made a habit of aggressively pursuing her by asking her out, kissing her and trying to persuade her to have sex. She said no each time, charges said.
In the third case, a 21-year-old student said she was at a house party on Dec. 8, 2018, in Shoreview with three of her college friends. She brought a can of hard seltzer with her. She recalled mingling at the party for about 30 minutes before blacking out and waking up late the next morning feeling groggy, queasy, and feeling pain in her genitalia.
She reported the incident the next day to her former resident assistant, stating that she did not want to have sex with Erhabor.
In April, the 21-year-old and the 19-year-old filed sexual assault reports with Bethel officials.
Statistics provided by Bethel show that allegations in recent years of sexual assault on campus are rare. Four alleged rapes were reported to have occurred in 2016-2018. Covered by the data are Bethel’s Frogtown/Summit U satellite and study abroad locations. Not included are reports of assaulted involving Bethel students but occurring off-campus.