University of Utah diver allegedly flees US amid rape investigation: reports
A University of Utah diver is on the run after police say he may have fled the country amid an investigation into rape allegations, according to multiple reports.
Benjamin Smyth, a 19-year-old student-athlete on the men’s swimming and diving team, is believed to have fled to Canada where he is a citizen after learning that he was being investigated for the August 2022 incident, WITI-TV reported.
According to court documents from the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, Smyth approached a woman in her dorm room common area and exchanged contact information. He then allegedly went to the woman’s dorm minutes later.
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The documents, obtained by KSTU, allege that Smyth began kissing the woman despite her refusal. He then allegedly forced the woman into various sexual activities before forcibly raping her.
Smyth initially denied knowing the victim before telling investigators that he “had sex with her when he first met her.”
Police reportedly tried to serve Smyth with a temporary protective order at his dorm days later but soon learned he had packed up and returned to Canada “after learning that he was being investigated for the rape” of the woman.
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The university released a statement that said Smyth had been suspended upon learning about the police investigation in February.
“On February 16 we were made aware of a serious allegation involving a member of our men’s swimming and diving program,” the school said in a statement via WITI.
“Upon being notified by the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) of a pending investigation, Ben Smyth was immediately suspended on Feb. 20 from all team activities. We take matters of this type very seriously, and have continued to monitor the situation. We will not have further comment as this matter proceeds through the legal process.”
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An arrest warrant for Smyth has been issued, according to WITI. He is wanted on rape, forcible sodomy and forcible sexual abuse charges.