ST. PAUL, MN. — A young woman attending St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, endured a horrifying ordeal when her boyfriend allegedly held her captive in her dorm room for three days, subjecting her to physical and sexual abuse. The accused, 19-year-old Keanu Labatte, was apprehended on Sunday after the victim managed to escape and alert campus security.
The incident began when Labatte, who had traveled 140 miles from Granite Falls to visit his girlfriend of two months, discovered content on her phone that enraged him. The romantic weekend visit quickly spiraled into a nightmare as Labatte allegedly seized her phone, preventing her from seeking help.
The victim’s ordeal included repeated sexual assaults and strangulation, leaving her feeling lightheaded. Labatte also allegedly threatened to kill her and her family. The abuse escalated to the point where Labatte allegedly waterboarded her in a bathtub and threatened her with a knife, recounting a previous incident where he had held a knife to an ex-girlfriend’s throat.
The victim reported that Labatte even examined her arm, looking for a vein to cut deeply enough to ensure no one could save her. The victim was so terrified that she remained motionless next to Labatte, fearing further violence.
The victim finally managed to escape on Sunday. She convinced Labatte to let her leave the dorm room to get food from the cafeteria. He agreed, but only if she would send him a picture to confirm her location. Instead, she sought help from campus security, who noticed bruising on her ear, face, and neck and promptly called the police.
Police arrested Labatte in the dorm room, where they discovered a folding knife and a damp washcloth. The victim stated that Labatte had moved the mattress to the floor to muffle the noise of his assaults.
Labatte, who was already on probation for violating a restraining order from another woman, now faces five felony charges, including three for criminal sexual conduct, one for domestic assault by strangulation, and one for threats of violence. The charges carry potential sentences ranging from three to 30 years.
St. Catherine University declined to comment on how the abuse went unnoticed, citing the student’s right to privacy and the ongoing investigation.
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