Boyfriend Of Two Months Allegedly Raped Girlfriend In Dorm For Days, Waterboarded Her In Tub, Moved Mattress To Floor So Bed Wouldn’t Squeak
A Granite Falls, Minnesota man has been arrested and charged following allegations of confining his girlfriend within her dorm room at St. Catherine University. Throughout the weekend, he reportedly subjected her to acts of rape and assault.
According to a legal complaint, 19-year-old Keanu Avery Labatte arrived at the university on a Thursday to visit his girlfriend of two months. Upon his arrival, he came across text messages, images, and social media content that enraged him, leading to a traumatic weekend marked by physical and sexual abuse.
The victim told investigators that Labatte initially confiscated her phone and forced himself upon her, even after she expressed her unwillingness to engage in sexual activity, as stated in the complaint. Labatte’s aggression escalated, including acts of strangulation that left the victim lightheaded, along with threats to harm both her and her family. He also alluded to having previously held a knife to a former girlfriend’s throat.
On Saturday, Labatte allegedly subjected the victim to waterboarding by placing her in a bathtub, covering her face with a washcloth, and pouring water over her. Additionally, the victim recalled Labatte threatening her with a knife while attempting to find “the right vein” on her arm to inflict a deep wound, ensuring she would die.
On Sunday morning, the victim managed to persuade Labatte to allow her to get food from the dining hall. He returned her phone and instructed her to maintain contact through Snapchat to prevent her escape. However, she reported the assaults to campus security instead.
Upon conducting a search of the room, law enforcement discovered a folding knife in a backpack and a damp washcloth in the bathroom. The mattress had been moved to the floor, as per the victim’s statement, to prevent noise during sexual assaults.
Labatte was arrested while still in the room and, when read his Miranda rights, opted to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights.
During a medical examination for sexual assault, a nurse documented the victim’s injuries, which included bruises around her ear, face, and neck, as well as severe bodily pain.
Labatte is facing charges that include three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, as well as domestic assault by strangulation and threats of violence. He appeared before a judge on Tuesday, with bail set at $80,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for October 9.
If convicted, Labatte could be sentenced to up to 30 years for each count of criminal sexual conduct, in addition to maximum penalties of three and five years for the domestic assault and threats of violence charges, respectively. Court records indicate that Labatte is on probation for violating a restraining order involving another woman in Yellow Medicine County.