Iowa State University graduate student charged with rape

Local News

A graduate student at Iowa State University has been charged with sexual abuse after police say he forcibly raped a victim at his apartment, and prosecutors are currently investigating a report of a second sexual assault that happened on campus.

Jona Shitaleni Paulus, 33, was arrested Thursday and charged with Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree — Forcible Rape. 

According to court records, Paulus met a woman on the dating app Tinder in late March who came to his apartment just north of campus on Saturday, April 6 around 2:45 a.m. to sleep. 

“Victim said as she was laying in Paulus’ bed, he began to grab her breasts and she told him she did not want to have sex and she was trying to sleep,” the complaint reads.”Paulus got on top of the victim and she described being unable to push him off of her. Paulus then pushed victim’s underwear to the side and penetrated her vagina with his penis, by force and against her will.”

The victim called 911 to report she had been sexually assaulted and showed an audio recording to law enforcement of her leaving the apartment. 

“On the recording victim tells Paulus ‘I told you no’, to which Paulus replies ‘I know, I know'”, the complaint continues. “Victim said Paulus was grabbing onto her wrist and telling her to stay at the apartment with him. Eventually the victim was able to leave.” 

Bruising on the victim’s wrist and hands were noted by police.

Iowa State University has confirmed that Paulus is currently enrolled as a graduate student. The listed address for the incident is the University Village apartment complex on 1720 Long Road.

According to the complaint, Paulus admitted that a sex act occurred, but indicated it was consensual.

Records in the case show that a second incident was reported to police the following day, Sunday, April 7. 

A female victim reported meeting Paulus on MeetMe, a separate social media dating app, and asked him to her residence at Buchanan Hall on Iowa State’s campus.

Paulus allegedly arrived around 11:20 p.m on April 6., making small talk with the victim and discussing how he was from Africa. The two then got into bed “to cuddle and sleep only”, but Paulus proceeded to touch the victim, ultimately penetrating her with his finger and penis.

Search warrant documents say Paulus then left the room for an hour and a half and returned with a bottle of whiskey before both eventually went to bed. 

The next morning, the second victim “indicated she woke up to the sound of a picture being taken and Paulus’ penis in her face”, the documents read. “He then forced her to perform oral sex on him. During the sexual assault, [the victim] indicated Paulus was trying to take pictures.”

Once Paulus fell asleep, the victim looked through Paulus’ phone to find pictures and videos stored showing sexual acts committed against her and “a lot of different girls”, including Paulus having sex with another female.

“[The victim] stated it looked as if the video was taken without the knowledge of the female,” according to a search warrant application.

The second victim showed a picture of Paulus to an Iowa State University police officer, the same one who took the first victim’s report. The officer was able to positively identify Paulus.

After going to Mary Greeley Medical Center for a sexual assault exam, the second victim told a nurse she saw on Paulus’ phone “a picture of a laptop screen with a video of Paulus having sex with a female who seemed unaware that she was being videotaped.”

Police verified that Paulus resided at the University Village apartment, and that he is an Iowa State University student originally from Africa. 

The Story County Attorney’s Office tells Local 5 they anticipate additional criminal charges.

Paulus’ bond has been set at $50,000 cash-only, and his passport has been seized. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 29.

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