Villanova football player accused of attempted 2019 assault

MEDIA, Pa. (AP) — A Villanova football player has been charged with felony attempted sexual assault in an alleged 2019 incident in a dormitory room, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The Delaware County district attorney’s office said Iyanu Elijah Solomon, 19, of Reisterstown, Maryland, also is charged with misdemeanor indecent assault, simple assault and unlawful restraint.

“We recognize that pressing criminal charges is an agonizing decision for victims,” District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said in a statement. “I want to commend the victim in this case for having the courage to come forward in order to protect their campus community from further harm.”

Solomon, listed as Elijah Solomon on the team’s 2020 roster, is a 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker, according to the roster.

Prosecutors said a female student reported to campus police in August 2020 that a male resident student attempted to engage in sexual activities by force in September 2019. Prosecutors said she reported the incident to her resident assistant about two weeks after it occurred but decided against filing a police report.

She gave a written statement to campus police in August 2020 but didn’t pursue criminal charges, but in February she decided she wanted to pursue criminal charges “and reported that she had been subjected to ongoing harassment by the defendant,” prosecutors said.

She told police the defendant made repeated advances to her in his room, restrained her, and threw her to the ground when she tried to flee. In an unrelated case, two female residents alleged sexual assaults on March 1, which prompted a campus-wide alert March 3.

Villanova said in a statement that Solomon had been removed from campus and suspended indefinitely from the football program pending the outcome of the investigation and an internal review.

“There is no place for sexual misconduct of any kind on Villanova’s campus or in our community,” the university’s statement said. “These acts constitute the deepest affront to University standards and will not be tolerated in any form.”

Court records indicate that Solomon was taken to Delaware County Prison, unable at last report to post 10% of the required $250,000 bail. Court records don’t list a defense attorney and a listed number for Solomon couldn’t be found Tuesday.

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