Boulder County Judge Zachary Malkinson said Friday that there is enough evidence to move forward the case against Zachary Orion Roper, the University of Colorado Boulder student accused of raping a fellow student after a sorority event in January, and whose arrest prompted university-wide protests calling for his suspension.
Roper is charged with sexual assault on a helpless victim, a Class 3 felony, and sexual assault on a victim incapable of appraising conduct, a Class 4 felony. He remains out of custody on a $500 cash bond.
At a preliminary hearing on Friday, Malkinson said the case would be bound over to Aug. 9, when Roper, who was 19 at the time of arrest, will have an opportunity to enter a plea or continue the case to trial.
According to an arrest affidavit, the named victim attended a “date dash” event in Loveland on Jan 31 with the sorority to which she belonged, and was set up with Roper by another member of the sorority.
Detective Ross Richart, the lead investigator on the case, relayed the events of the evening at Friday’s hearing, describing the woman as recalling initially drinking along with Roper and others before going to Loveland, where drinking continued at the event. Richart said the woman would later only remember pieces of the evening, but recalled eventually being pulled out of Roper’s apartment by friends and being brought to the hospital for an evaluation.
Witnesses told police the woman was sent back to the Boulder sorority house in an Uber with Roper when she became too intoxicated at the Loveland event, but the Uber driver told police that Roper changed the address from the sorority house to his apartment during the ride.
The woman received a Snapchat video from Roper the next day that appeared to show her sleeping in the back of the Uber on their way back to Boulder, Richart said.
Richart added that fellow sorority members were told to watch out for the woman earlier in the evening due to her intoxication level and because the woman’s friends were suspicious of Roper, with one referring to him as “creepy.”
A fellow sorority member who had been charged with making sure the woman got home became concerned when she never arrived, and went to Roper’s apartment with several other members and found Roper allegedly sexually assaulting her, Richart said.
Friends and at least one of Roper’s roommates, who went to check on the two, told police they found Roper naked and on top of the victim making “thrusting motions.”
They said they found the woman on the bed face down, initially unresponsive with her pants pulled down as Roper backed away to put on his underwear, Richart said. The friends told him the victim appeared to have been crying and that her makeup was smeared, he said.
The friends eventually helped her leave the apartment and get to a hospital for a sexual assault examination.
The woman recalled that she was menstruating on the evening of Jan. 31 and that a tampon she was wearing at the time had been “lodged very far inside of her” as a result of the alleged assault, Richart said.