A Minnesota man allegedly raped, beat and waterboarded his girlfriend while he held her hostage inside her college dorm for three days after finding texts on her phone that “infuriated him.”
Keanu Labatte, 19, was arrested Sunday at St. Catherine University, an all-female school in St. Paul, after his alleged victim escaped the harrowing abuse and alerted campus security.
Labatte arrived on campus Thursday after making the 140-mile trip from Granite Falls to visit a girl he had been seeing for two months, according to a criminal complaint obtained by KSTB.
What was supposed to be a romantic weekend took a dark turn when Labatte found texts, pictures and social media information on her phone that reportedly “infuriated him.”
The man allegedly took her phone and kept it away from her for days so she couldn’t call for help while he allegedly tortured her.
He repeatedly raped and strangled the woman until she was lightheaded inside her campus dorm room while making deranged threats to kill her and her family, prosecutors allege.
Labatte is accused of forcing his girlfriend to lie down in a bathtub before covering her face with a washcloth and dumping water over her so that she struggled to breathe.
He also allegedly threatened her with a knife, telling her that he had held it against the throat of a previous girlfriend who had angered him.
He even went as far as to pick up the coed’s arm in search of “the right vein to cut deep enough so no one could save her,” the victim told authorities.
She said the torture left her “feeling terrified to the point that she would just lay next to Labatte and not move for fear of what he would do to her,” according to the court docs.
After days of suffering the horrific abuse, the student finally convinced Labatte to allow her to leave the dorm-turned-torture chamber to get food from the cafeteria on Sunday morning.
He consented — on the condition she send him a picture after arriving to prove where she was — and gave her the phone back, court records state.
Instead, she went directly to campus security, who called police after noting bruising around her ear, face and neck.
Police arrested Labatte inside the dorm room, where they found a folding knife and a damp washcloth in the bathroom.
Officers also noted that the mattress had been moved to the floor, which the victim said Labatte had done so the bed wouldn’t squeak while he sexually assaulted her, the complaint said.
After being read his legal rights, Labatte said, “I plead the 5th.”
The teen was already on probation for violating a restraining order another woman had taken out against him, according to court records.
He has been charged with five felony counts: three for criminal sexual conduct, one for domestic assault by strangulation and one for threats of violence.
Each criminal sex charge carries up to 30 years in prison, while the domestic assault and threats of violence charges carry three- and five-year maximums respectively.
A spokesperson for St. Catherine’s declined to comment on how the abuse went unnoticed for several days, citing the student’s right to privacy.
“It is our policy at St. Catherine University not to issue any comment that would affect student confidentiality or potentially re-traumatize individuals. As this is an ongoing investigation, we do not wish to jeopardize the integrity of the case as it develops,” representative Sarah Voigt said in an email.
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