The suspect in the disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham was accused of sexual assaults at two Virginia colleges he attended, and he left each school shortly after each allegation, according to school officials.
The alleged assaults occurred within an 11-month span from 2002 to 2003 as Jesse L. “LJ” Matthew Jr. moved from Liberty University in Lynchburg to Christopher Newport University in Newport News. Police investigated each report, but neither resulted in a criminal case, according to the Lynchburg prosecutor and a review of online court records in Newport News.
Matthew’s attorney, James L. Camblos III, declined to comment on the allegations, which happened more than a decade ago, were investigated and went nowhere. “The events occurred in 2002 and 2003,” Camblos said Wednesday. “I am not aware of the particular details of either event, therefore I cannot comment on them.”
Matthew, 32, is now accused of abducting Graham, 18, who went missing Sept. 13 after she was seen walking with Matthew in downtown Charlottesville. Police have charged Matthew with abduction with intent to defile, meaning they believe he intended to sexually assault her. Police have not disclosed their evidence for that charge. The search for Graham, now more than two weeks old, has not been successful.
Christopher Newport confirmed the sexual assault allegation against Matthew on Wednesday in response to a public-records request by The Washington Post. School spokeswoman Lori Jacobs said records indicate that Matthew was accused of a sexual assault on campus on Sept. 7, 2003, which campus police investigated. Jacobs declined to say what action was taken after the allegation or how the case was resolved. Matthew left the university less than a week later.