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Soumya Panda (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)

A former University of Colorado Boulder graduate student has been accused of groping and attempting to sexually assault a female classmate in 2019.

Soumya Ranjan Panda, 36, was arrested Friday on suspicion of attempted sexual assault on a physically helpless victim and unlawful sexual contact.

He is free on a personal recognizance bond and is set for a formal filing of charges on Wednesday.

According to an affidavit, a woman called CU Boulder police in December 2020 and said the incident had occurred in December 2019.

The woman told police that she and Panda were classmates, and that she considered him a friend. She was studying at his apartment in university housing and decided to sleep over, since it was late at night.

The woman said she slept in the bedroom while Panda agreed to take the couch. But the woman said she woke up to Panda groping her and attempting to digitally penetrate her.

According to the affidavit, the woman said she was able to push Panda away and ran out of the apartment to her place.

The woman did not initially report the incident, but then told several people in the months after the incident. Police were able to reach several of the outcry witnesses who confirmed the woman said in late 2019 or early 2020 that Panda groped her.

Police interviewed Panda this month, and he denied groping or attempting to sexually assault the woman, according to the affidavit.

After that police interview, the woman said Panda and his wife called her and that, while negotiating to have the police report retracted, she asked if Panda would admit he “molested” her.

According to the affidavit, Panda admitted to the incident and said he was “really sorry for everything.”

Panda does not have any prior criminal history, according to the affidavit.