Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
American Detained in France on 2021 Warrant for 'So I Raped You' Facebook Message
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 14, 2024

Ian Thomas Cleary, accused of sexually assaulting a college student in 2013 and sending a troubling Facebook message, has been detained in France following a three-year search prompted by a 2021 felony warrant from Pennsylvania. (AP File)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

LYON, France — An American accused of sexually assaulting a Pennsylvania college student in 2013 and later sending her a Facebook message that said, “So I raped you,” has been detained in France after a three-year search.

A prosecutor in Metz, France, confirmed Tuesday that Ian Thomas Cleary, 31, of Saratoga, California, had been taken into custody last month and will be held pending extradition proceedings.

Clearly Found After International Search

Cleary had been the subject of an international search since authorities in Pennsylvania issued a 2021 felony warrant in the case weeks after an Associated Press story detailed the reluctance of local prosecutors to pursue campus sex crimes.

The arrest warrant accuses Cleary of stalking an 18-year-old Gettysburg College student at a party, sneaking into her dorm and sexually assaulting her while she texted friends for help. He was a 20-year-old Gettysburg student at the time, but did not return to campus.

According to a French judicial official, Cleary was detained on the street in Metz on April 24 as part of a police check. He told a magistrate that he had “arrived in France two or three years ago” from Albania and had only recently come to Metz, but did not have housing there, the official said. A French lawyer appointed to represent him did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Tuesday.

Cleary, according to his online posts, had previously spent time in France and also has ties to California and Maryland. His father is a tech executive in Silicon Valley, while his mother has lived in Baltimore. Neither he nor his parents have returned repeated phone and email messages left by the AP, including calls to his parents on Tuesday.

The Facebook Messages

The Gettysburg accuser, Shannon Keeler, had a rape exam done the same day she was assaulted in 2013. She gathered witnesses and evidence and spent years urging officials to file charges. She went to authorities again in 2021 after discovering the Facebook messages that seemed to come from Cleary’s account.

“So I raped you,” the sender had written in a string of messages.

“I’ll never do it to anyone ever again.”

“I need to hear your voice.”

“I’ll pray for you.”

According to the June 2021 warrant, police verified that the Facebook account used to send the messages belonged to Ian Cleary. Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett, who filed it, did not immediately return a call Tuesday.

No Comment on Cleary’s Detention

The AP does not typically name people who say they are sexual assault victims without their permission, which Keeler has granted. Her lawyer, reached Tuesday, had no immediate comment on Cleary’s detention.

After leaving Gettysburg, Cleary earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Santa Clara University, near his family home in California, worked for Tesla, then moved to France for several years, according to his website, which describes his self-published medieval fiction.

Keeler, originally from Moorestown, New Jersey, stayed on to graduate from Gettysburg and help lead the women’s lacrosse team to a national title.

By 2023, two years after the warrant was filed, Keeler and her lawyers wondered how he was avoiding capture in the age of digital tracking. The U.S. Marshals Service thought he was likely overseas and on the move, even as he was the subject of an Interpol alert called a red notice.

Across the U.S., very few campus rapes are prosecuted, both because victims fear going to police and prosecutors hesitate to bring cases that can be hard to win, the AP investigation found.

Keeler, when the warrant was issued, said she was grateful, but knew it only happened “because I went public with my story, which no survivor should have to do in order to obtain justice.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Clovis Detectives Quickly Arrest Suspects in Construction Equipment Theft at Church

DON'T MISS

Fresno ‘Flirts’ with Hot Weather. When Will Triple Digits Arrive?

DON'T MISS

Albert Ruddy, Oscar-Winning Producer of ‘the Godfather’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ Dies at 94

DON'T MISS

Who Bears Some Blame for High CA Gas Prices? Look in the Mirror

DON'T MISS

Israeli Strikes Kill 37 Palestinians Near Gaza’s Rafah as Offensive Expands

DON'T MISS

Former ‘General Hospital’ Actor Johnny Wactor Killed by Catalytic Converter Thieves

DON'T MISS

UC Workers’ Strike Spreads to UCLA & UC Davis Amid Free Speech Controversy

DON'T MISS

Celtics Look to Capture Championship, End 16-Year Drought

DON'T MISS

Not Even ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Saves Hollywood From a Terrible Memorial Day Weekend

DON'T MISS

Melinda French Gates Pledges $1B for Women’s Rights Over 2 Years

UP NEXT

Albert Ruddy, Oscar-Winning Producer of ‘the Godfather’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ Dies at 94

UP NEXT

Who Bears Some Blame for High CA Gas Prices? Look in the Mirror

UP NEXT

Israeli Strikes Kill 37 Palestinians Near Gaza’s Rafah as Offensive Expands

UP NEXT

Former ‘General Hospital’ Actor Johnny Wactor Killed by Catalytic Converter Thieves

UP NEXT

UC Workers’ Strike Spreads to UCLA & UC Davis Amid Free Speech Controversy

UP NEXT

Celtics Look to Capture Championship, End 16-Year Drought

UP NEXT

Not Even ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Saves Hollywood From a Terrible Memorial Day Weekend

UP NEXT

Melinda French Gates Pledges $1B for Women’s Rights Over 2 Years

UP NEXT

Supreme Court Leaves Avenatti’s Conviction in Place for Plotting to Extort $25M From Nike

UP NEXT

Popular California Beach Closed After Shark Bumped Surfer off His Board

Who Bears Some Blame for High CA Gas Prices? Look in the Mirror

33 mins ago

Israeli Strikes Kill 37 Palestinians Near Gaza’s Rafah as Offensive Expands

37 mins ago

Former ‘General Hospital’ Actor Johnny Wactor Killed by Catalytic Converter Thieves

2 hours ago

UC Workers’ Strike Spreads to UCLA & UC Davis Amid Free Speech Controversy

3 hours ago

Celtics Look to Capture Championship, End 16-Year Drought

3 hours ago

Not Even ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Saves Hollywood From a Terrible Memorial Day Weekend

3 hours ago

Melinda French Gates Pledges $1B for Women’s Rights Over 2 Years

3 hours ago

Supreme Court Leaves Avenatti’s Conviction in Place for Plotting to Extort $25M From Nike

3 hours ago

Popular California Beach Closed After Shark Bumped Surfer off His Board

3 hours ago

The Latest | Defense Targets Michael Cohen’s Testimony in Closing Arguments in Trump Hush Money Case

3 hours ago

Clovis Detectives Quickly Arrest Suspects in Construction Equipment Theft at Church

Clovis police announced via Instagram that two individuals have been arrested in connection with the theft of construction equipment valued ...

4 mins ago

4 mins ago

Clovis Detectives Quickly Arrest Suspects in Construction Equipment Theft at Church

18 mins ago

Fresno ‘Flirts’ with Hot Weather. When Will Triple Digits Arrive?

27 mins ago

Albert Ruddy, Oscar-Winning Producer of ‘the Godfather’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ Dies at 94

33 mins ago

Who Bears Some Blame for High CA Gas Prices? Look in the Mirror

37 mins ago

Israeli Strikes Kill 37 Palestinians Near Gaza’s Rafah as Offensive Expands

2 hours ago

Former ‘General Hospital’ Actor Johnny Wactor Killed by Catalytic Converter Thieves

3 hours ago

UC Workers’ Strike Spreads to UCLA & UC Davis Amid Free Speech Controversy

3 hours ago

Celtics Look to Capture Championship, End 16-Year Drought

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend