Former Gettysburg Student Wanted for 2013 Campus Sexual Assault Detained in France

By Vince DiFonzo, Editor-in-Chief

On April 24, former Gettysburg College student Ian Cleary was detained by authorities in Metz, France on a warrant related to a sexual assault allegedly committed in a campus dorm in December 2013. The arrest followed years of effort by the victim, Gettysburg alumna Shannon Keeler ’17, urging law enforcement to prosecute the case. This led to authorities issuing an arrest warrant for Cleary in 2021. Cleary was not in the United States when the warrant was issued and eluded law enforcement for three years until being discovered by French authorities.

Cleary is accused of stalking Keeler before sexually assaulting her after a fraternity party. Keeler, a first-year student at the time, reported the rape to police the day of its occurrence, including having a “rape kit” exam done to serve as evidence. Cleary, a junior at the time, denied wrongdoing and dropped out of Gettysburg College, prompting the Title IX office to close the case. 

Despite Keeler’s report, Adams County authorities declined to prosecute the case for years. The Associated Press previously reported that at Gettysburg, “95 rapes were reported to campus security from 2013 to 2019 — but only 10 non-child rape cases were prosecuted in the entire county during that period, according to school data and county court records.” 

Cleary transferred to Santa Clara University in California, where he graduated in 2016. However, Keeler continued to speak up about her experience and push for Cleary’s prosecution. In 2021, The Gettysburgian reported on Keeler’s continued efforts seeking Cleary’s arrest. 

In 2019, Keeler received a string of messages from Cleary on Facebook Messenger. One of the messages read, “So I raped you.” Others stated, “I’ll never do it to anyone ever again, “I need to hear your voice,“ and “I’ll pray for you,” as reported by the AP. Keeler presented the new evidence to Adams County authorities, prompting a warrant to be issued for Cleary’s arrest in 2021. Since then, Cleary avoided capture by authorities, until he was found in the French city of Metz on a routine check by local authorities. He is now awaiting extradition back to the United States. 

U.S. Marshals released this wanted poster for Cleary in 2021 (Photo Credit: U.S. Marshals via AP)

At the time the warrant was issued, Keeler stated that Cleary was only being pursued by authorities “because I went public with my story, which no survivor should have to do in order to obtain justice.” 

Gettysburg President Bob Iuliano addressed the case in 2021, praising Keeler’s bravery in an email sent to the campus community. He further stated that “pursuing these cases criminally remains an ongoing challenge,” while highlighting “the essential work that we have as a community in addressing these problems on our campus—and across all of higher education.”

13% of college students and 26.4% of female students experience sexual assault, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, and only about 20% of cases are reported to authorities. According to a study conducted at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, only 18 out of 100 sexual assaults reported to police end in a conviction. 

Author: Vincent DiFonzo

Vincent DiFonzo ’25 serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Gettysburgian for the 2024-2025 academic year. Vince is an IGS international affairs and history major with a political science minor. He served as Content Manager in Spring 2023 and as Opinions Editor and Lead Copy Editor for the Fall 2023 semester, before studying abroad in Berlin in Spring 2024. On-campus, he is the House Leader for Public Policy House, an editor for the Gettysburg Social Science Review (GSSR), a participant in Eisenhower Institute programs and previously served as Managing Editor of Ike’s Anvil. Outside the Gettysburgian, Vince enjoys discovering new music, geography and traveling.

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1 Comment

  1. He is presumed to be innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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