University of Utah diver flees country during rape investigation

Posted at 12:15 PM, May 09, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A member of the University of Utah diving team who fled the country and returned to his native Canada has been charged with rape.

Benjamin Smyth, a sophomore student-athlete at the school, was charged Monday with rape and forcible sodomy, and forcible sexual abuse. During its investigation, University of Utah police learned Smyth had cleaned out his dorm room and returned to his home in British Colombia.

According to court documents, a woman told police she was reading in her dorm common area in August when she was approached by a group of males, including Smyth. The two exchanged contact information and Smyth soon reached out via text, asking "what she was doing" and where her roommates were.

Minutes later, Smyth, 19, showed up at the woman's dorm room and soon began kissing her despite her protests, saying she "did not want to do that." Smyth continued to force the woman into various sexual activities before forcibly raping her, the documents state.

After first telling police that he did not know the woman, Smyth then acknowledged he knew her and "had sex with her when he first met her."

Smyth told investigators that he had sex "with many women for their first time" and provided the names of two people who could speak on his character. The first person said Smyth talked about having sex with the woman and that he "always brags about the number of women he has sex with," including keeping a list of women and sharing it to "feed his ego."

The second person described Smyth as "cocky."

Days later, when a detective when to Smyth's dorm room to serve him with a temporary protective order, his roommates said he had previously cleared out all his belongings and moved out. The detective received a call from a private investigator a few days later and learned Smyth had returned to Canada "after learning that he was being investigated for the rape" of the woman.

In a statement Tuesday, schools officials said Smyth was immediately suspended from all team activities on Feb. 20 after the university was notified of the investigation.

"We take matters of this type very seriously, and have continued to monitor the situation. We will not have further comment as this matter proceeds through the legal process,” the statement said.

All information regarding Smyth on the diving team's website has been removed.

During his freshman season at Utah, Smyth competed at the NCAA Championships in both the 3-meter and platform events, and finished second in platform at the Pac-12 Championships.