Man arrested, accused of trying to assault Rice University students while they slept

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by Kevin Reece / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 1 at 6:29 PM

HOUSTON -- A former Rice University student has been arrested and faces criminal charges for allegedly going door to door in a university dorm and crawling into bed with unsuspecting coeds.

Nathaniel Simonette, 25, was arrested Saturday night after multiple witnesses identified him as the suspect who assaulted two women in the Lovett College Dorm.

A female student, who says she was asleep in her dorm room with her boyfriend, says she woke up to find another man pulling off her clothes and kissing her breasts and buttocks.  She screamed and the boyfriend chased the suspect away.  That same night another female student says she awoke to find a man in her bed pulling off her underwear and fondling her.  The suspect was chased away again and reportedly admitted to one of his pursuers that his name was “Nate.”

Rice University Police checked their security systems and found that Nate Simonette, who graduated from Rice three years ago, had tried to use his old Rice ID swipe card, twice, to gain access that same night at the front door of the Lovett College Dorm.  Police contacted him and he agreed to go to the Rice University Police station to be interviewed. 

Investigators say Simonette admitted crawling into bed with a coed after gaining entrance to the room through her unlocked door.  “I’m not disputing it” he said, but claimed he didn’t remember assaulting her because he “may have blacked out.”

“It appeared that he had been drinking," said Rice University Police Chief Johnny Whitehead.  “Based on his statements and witness statements and information we had probable cause to charge him with the two counts of burglary with intent to commit sexual offenses. This is an unusual occurrence and we’re real fortunate that we were able to make an apprehension quickly.”

Simonette has since posted bond and has been released from the Harris County Jail.  He faces a court date on the felony charges later this month.

Meanwhile Rice students, who say Rice University Police alerted them quickly by text and email about the incidents and the arrest, say they will be more careful about locking their dorm room doors.

“We did get a follow-up email that there was an arrest. So I am glad that he got taken by whomever and that he didn’t like just get away with it,” said student Olivia Ragni.

“I mean lock your door. Take some precautions,” said student Jessica Henson. “Rice is a safe place, but you can’t be too careful.”

 

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