An 18-year-old University of Central Arkansas student is accused of raping a female student after helping her to her dorm following a party at the Sigma Tau Gamma House on Friday.
Michael Hopper, UCA Police Department’s public information officer, said the incident was the first sexual assault reported on campus since the 2017-18 academic year began in mid-August. Last year, four sexual assaults were reported on campus.
According to a probable cause affidavit, university police spoke with the victim and her friends at Bear Hall following the incident. One of the victim’s friends informed the officer that Michael “Mickey” Zeher had walked the victim back to Bear Hall, were they both lived separately, because “she was intoxicated and was not feeling well.”
Shortly after leaving the party at the Sigma Tau Gamma House, one of the victim’s friends received a Snapchat from Zeher’s roommate that stated Zeher was having sex with the victim.
The victim told responding officers Zeher had in fact “forced his penis inside of her” and he was then taken to the university’s police department for questioning, according to the affidavit.
Zeher consented to answering questions without an attorney present and admitted to having sexual intercourse with the victim for approximately five to ten minutes. He also said he understood the victim was incoherent during the alleged incident.
“He further told me that he took her clothes off, had sexual intercourse with her, ejaculated into a towel that was in his room, put [the victim’s] clothes back on, and then picked her up and put her back on his bed,” one officer wrote in his report. “I asked him why he had sex with [the victim] even though he knew it was wrong. He told me that it was because he had liked her for a long time and that he ‘had feelings for her.’”
UCA Associate Vice President of Communications Christina Madsen said she could not release details pertaining to the case but said that UCAPD “continues to investigate and they are cooperating with prosecutors.”
Rape, which is a Class Y felony, is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
Hopper said UCAPD encourages anyone who is a victim of a sexual assault is asked to come forward and report the crime.
“We certainly take all of these reports seriously,” he said. “We always encourage victims of crimes to come forward.”
Many resources are made available to witnesses who come forward, Hopper said, noting the university’s counseling center helps to provide resources and services to those in need.