Facebook used to help identify suspect in UI Pentacrest rape case

Evan Michael Pfeifer, 18, of Lake Barrington, Ill., faces a charge of third-degree sexual abuse after police say he rape
Evan Michael Pfeifer, 18, of Lake Barrington, Ill., faces a charge of third-degree sexual abuse after police say he raped a woman on the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest last October.

UPDATE: IOWA CITY, Iowa - Facebook helped a University of Iowa student identify the man accused of raping her last fall.

Evan Michael Pfeifer, 18, of Lake Barrington, Ill., faces a charge of third-degree sexual abuse, a class C felony punishable by 10 years in prison. Pfeifer was a UI student last fall but is now suspended from the school indefinitely.

On Nov. 1, a woman told University of Iowa police she was walking to the dorms in the early morning hours of Oct. 3 when a stranger pushed or guided her under a nearby tree along the west side of the Pentacrest, which is the area surrounding the Old Capitol in the heart of the UI campus. She acknowledged being intoxicated, according to an affidavit from UI Police Detective Brian Meyer returned in a search warrant filed in Johnson County District Court.

The woman said the man pushed her to the ground, put his hand over her mouth and had non-consensual sexual intercourse with her, according to a criminal complaint. The victim said she told the man to “stop” and “no,” according to the complaint.

At 3:45 a.m., an Iowa City resident reported to police he observed a possible assault on the Pentacrest, but officers were unable to find anyone, Meyer reported.

A few days later, the alleged victim saw the man she says raped her. On Oct. 15, the alleged victim and her sister saw the man. The sister approached the man, used a guise to get his name, “Evan,” and the man got her name so he could “friend” her on Facebook, according to Meyer’s affidavit.

When the sister and the alleged victim returned to the sister’s apartment, the woman looked at the man’s picture on his Facebook profile and said she was sure that was the person who assaulted her, Meyer reported.

An employee with University Housing reported that a security system showed that Pfeifer entered the south entrance of Rienow Residence Hall, where he lived at the time, at 3:44 a.m. on Oct. 3, according to Meyer. A video from the dorm showed Pfeifer wearing a black-and-yellow jacket consistent with the one described by the witness, according to Meyer.

Pfeifer was released Friday on a $10,000 cash bond, according to online court records. He is not allowed to have any contact with the alleged victim.

UI Spokesman Tom Moore said Pfeifer was found responsible for violating the section of the UI’s sexual misconduct policy that states, “The University of Iowa prohibits sexual misconduct in any form, including sexual assault or sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and any form of nonconsensual sexual conduct.”

As a result, Moore said, the UI suspended Pfeifer indefinitely without the possibility of reinstatement until the fall 2016 semester, and the dean of students would have to OK any attempt to re-enroll. Pfeifer is banned from campus during his suspension and is permanently barred from University Housing. It also imposed on Pfeifer a permanent administrative no-contact order with the complaining party.

Phone messages left at Pfeifer’s home and with his attorney, David E. Brown, were not immediately returned.The alleged victim and her sister are identified only by initials in the affidavit.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.