OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:41 PM – Thursday, September 14, 2023
A Minnesota teen is being accused of holding his girlfriend hostage in her college dorm for three days while sexually assaulting, physically abusing, and waterboarding her after he reportedly discovered texts on her phone that “infuriated him.”
At the all-female St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Keanu Labatte, 19, was detained on Sunday after his girlfriend managed to flee the horrifying torture to call campus security.
According to a criminal complaint that station KSTB obtained, Labatte had traveled 140 miles from Granite Falls to the university on Thursday so that he could visit a young woman that he had been dating for around two months.
A romantic weekend that was intended to be spent together turned sour when Labatte discovered cell phone texts, camera roll images, and social media direct messages on her phone that he says “infuriated him.”
In order to prevent her from calling for assistance while being abused, the man allegedly kept her phone and withheld it for days.
Prosecutors claim that the man repeatedly assaulted the woman and choked her in her university dorm room while uttering insane threats of murdering both her and her family members.
In an attempt to inhibit his girlfriend’s breathing and instill even more fear, Labatte is also accused of forcing the young woman to lie in the bathtub, covering her face with a washcloth, while pouring water over her face, a torture tactic that is referred to as “waterboarding.”
Waterboarding a victim will typically make them feel like they are drowning.
He also allegedly put a knife to her neck and warned that he had used it in the past to reprimand an ex-girlfriend.
The unidentified woman said that 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,” court documents stated.
The female college student eventually persuaded Labatte to let her leave her dormitory so that she “could get food for both of them” from the cafeteria on Sunday morning after three days of the horrifying abuse.
He agreed, but he also said that she must send him a photo once she arrives at the café to show that she was really there, before returning her phone, according to court documents.
However, she went straight to campus security instead, who, after noticing injuries to her ear, face, and neck, immediately called the police.
Authorities arrived and found a folding knife and a wet towel in Labatte’s dorm room, where he was then taken into custody.
The woman went on to explain that Labatte had moved her mattress on to the floor so that the bed would not make loud noises while he sexually assaulted her, and officers had also noticed this, according to the complaint.
After the police read the deranged teen his rights, he responded, “I plead the fifth.”
According to court documents, the 19-year-old man was already on probation for disobeying a restraining order that another woman had obtained against him.
Five felonies have now been brought against Labatte. Three for criminal sexual behavior, one for strangling as a domestic assault, and one for making violent threats.
The maximum sentence for domestic abuse and threats of violence is up to 3 to 5 years in jail, whereas the maximum sentence for each criminal sex charge is up to 30 years in prison.
Referencing the victim’s right to privacy, a St. Catherine’s representative declined to comment on how the abuse went unreported for several days.
“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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