Three-day nightmare: Student held captive in her own dorm

ST. PAUL, MN. — A student at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, was allegedly held captive and subjected to brutal physical and sexual abuse by her boyfriend in her own dorm room. The accused, 19-year-old Keanu Labatte, was taken into custody on Sunday after the victim managed to escape and alert campus security.

The ordeal began when Labatte, who had journeyed 140 miles from Granite Falls for a weekend visit, found content on his girlfriend’s phone that provoked his anger. The weekend that was intended to be a romantic visit quickly turned into a horrific experience as Labatte allegedly confiscated her phone, thus preventing her from reaching out for help.

The victim endured repeated sexual assaults and strangulation, which left her feeling faint. Labatte also allegedly threatened her and her family’s lives. The abuse further escalated when Labatte allegedly subjected her to waterboarding in a bathtub and brandished a knife, recounting an incident where he had threatened a previous girlfriend in a similar manner.

The victim reported that Labatte even scrutinized her arm, searching for a vein to cut deeply enough to ensure no one could save her. The victim was so petrified that she lay motionless next to Labatte, fearing additional violence.

The victim managed to escape on Sunday. She persuaded Labatte to allow her to leave the dorm room to get food from the cafeteria. He agreed, but demanded she send him a picture to verify her location. Instead, she approached campus security, who observed bruising on her ear, face, and neck and immediately contacted the police.

Police apprehended Labatte in the dorm room, where they found a folding knife and a damp washcloth. The victim indicated that Labatte had relocated the mattress to the floor to suppress the noise of his assaults.

Labatte, who was already on probation for breaching a restraining order from another woman, is now facing five felony charges, including three for criminal sexual conduct, one for domestic assault by strangulation, and one for threats of violence. The charges carry potential sentences ranging from three to 30 years.

St. Catherine University refrained from commenting on how the abuse went unnoticed, citing the student’s right to privacy and the ongoing investigation.