LOGAN, Utah — A Utah State University football player has been suspended from the team and cannot return to campus without a police escort after he allegedly broke into a female student's dorm room and sexually assaulted her early Sunday morning.
USU spokeswoman Amanda DeRito said 22-year-old Ismael "Izzy" Kalani Vaifo'ou, a sophomore defensive end on the Aggies' football team, is still a student at the school. She added that any time a student gets charged with criminal behavior, the school goes through a formal process to decide whether that student is a threat to others on campus.
"There is a process for emergency removal of a student in such a situation," DeRito added. "So, really we're going through all of those processes right now and addressing it."
Vaifo'ou allegedly broke into the victim's dorm room and assaulted her around 3:30 Sunday morning. The assault took place in the co-ed Living and Learning Community (LLC) dorms on the university's campus.
"The individual in question was apprehended shortly after the complaint came in of the sexual assault and trespass and burglary, and law enforcement did apprehend him, interviewed him, and had enough evidence we believe to actually book him into jail," Utah State University Chief of Police Earl Morris said.
According to a probable cause statement, several students who live in building D of the LLC say they saw Vaifo'ou entering multiple suites within the building. One victim says she awoke to Vaifo'ou in her bed with only his underwear on, and she says he touched her inappropriately and assaulted her.
"There is evidence that he was intoxicated at the time he did enter into the rooms that are in question," Morris added. "That's just one of the many elements that we're of course investigating."
Vaifo'ou was also a resident in the LLC. The probable cause statement goes on to say he was able to "make entry into the suites and rooms as some of the residence [sic] would leave their doors unlocked or tamper with the locks so they would not latch."
The document also states that individual dorm rooms are accessible through shared "living room type area(s), or suites, which then goes off into doorways leading to rooms." The suites are only accessible to residents "in the rooms off of the suite," and "rooms are also keyed only allowing access to those that reside in the room."
"We have multiple layers of security in our [residence] halls, and so we'll be addressing any sort of lapses in that, looking at what happened and making sure that we take action, and we work with students to make sure that they're safe and that they're using the security that they've been provided," DeRito said.
This is not the first time a member of the Aggies' football team has been charged with sexual assault. In 2019, former Aggie Torrey Green was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison for assaulting six women between 2013 and 2015.
DeRito and Morris want students to know the school is taking this case very seriously.
"We've been really wanting to get the word out that, you know, we've taken appropriate action, that the student was trespassed from campus," DeRito said. "So, [he] can't be up here without a police escort and we are addressing it continually."
"We do have multiple layers of security that are involved to hopefully prevent these types of incidents to happen," Morris added. "And we're looking at the process to ensure that if anything was circumvented, that it doesn't happen again."
Morris also said investigators are confident with the evidence they've gathered so far, but they are continuing to interview victims and witnesses.
Vaifo'ou was booked into the Cache County jail Sunday night. He has been charged with three misdemeanors and two second-degree felonies, including forcible sexual abuse.
DeRito encourages any USU students who have experienced sexual assault to report the incident to campus authorities. Students can head to sexualrespect.usu.edu for more on-campus resources.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 or the online chat hotline at rainn.org/resources.