A man sat down in a booth at a popular drinking spot near the University of Minnesota next to a woman he didn't know, reached into her pants and molested her, charges say.
Benjamin E. Sloan, 21, of Prior Lake, was arrested and charged last week in Hennepin County District Court with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Sloan posted bond for bail of $20,000 and was released Friday ahead of a court hearing Feb. 10.
Messages were left Sunday and Monday with Sloan and his family, and with his attorney Tuesday seeking his response to what he's accused of doing in Sally's Saloon on Washington Avenue SE.
The university decided not to send out a crime alert in this case to students and others associated with the school. University spokesman Steve Henneberry explained Monday that "the case had a known suspect and there was no ongoing threat to the community."
In late spring 2014, about two weeks after a prank letter went out under official-looking Prior Lake High School letterhead announcing "mandatory vagina inspection" at the gym, a photo of the 18-year-old Sloan and three others holding the bogus notice was posted on Twitter with the hashtag "SeniorConfession."
Neither police nor school officials have said who was behind the stunt, which sparked outrage from school administrators as the letter's contents drew national media attention.
According to the criminal complaint and police in the Sally's Saloon incident:
On Sept. 11, a 22-year-old woman told police she was in Sally's with a friend, when two strangers sat down in the booth with them.
Sloan told the woman his first name, that he was from Prior Lake and where he was attending school. He then said, " 'I want to marry you and — — you,' " the complaint quoted Sloan as saying. He kept talking to the woman and trying to put his arm around her over her objections.
Sloan then grabbed the woman's breasts, reached into her pants and digitally penetrated her.
As she kept saying "no" to him, he tried to kiss the woman and bit her on the shoulder.
The woman and her friend left. She gave police a photo of the bite mark Sloan left on the woman.
The woman found Sloan on Facebook and figured out she had a friend attending Sloan's school.
Sloan sent a message to that friend that read, " 'Please I really need to talk to this girl. That is NOT me to do something like that. I'm so sick to my stomach thinking about this. Please let me just at least text her and sincerely apologize.' "
Under questioning by police, Sloan claimed nothing happened, but if anything did, he touched her breasts by accident. He denied reaching into the woman's pants.
A DNA sample taken from the waist of the woman's pants was tested and found to be a match to Sloan.
Conditions for Sloan's release from jail included no alcohol or illicit drug use. His criminal history in Minnesota includes convictions for alcohol-related crimes.
The complaint did not say whether Sloan or the woman are University of Minnesota students. The U student directory doesn't list Sloan.