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Former UVa student faces a third sexual assault charge

The former University of Virginia student facing a rape charge in Albemarle County and a second sexual assault charge in his hometown of New York has been charged with an additional rape charge, this time in the city of Charlottesville.

Derek Rodriguez-Contreras, a 22-year-old who had been pursuing a master’s degree at the McIntire School of Commerce after having secured an undergraduate degree in media studies at UVa last spring, has been taken back to jail after the latest charge in Charlottesville General District Court.

“We had all night,” Rodriguez-Contreras’ alleged victim reportedly told him as he followed and groped her walking out of his West Main Street apartment and toward and a ride home last spring.

“Let’s get back to this on a different occasion,” she says she told him. “If you wanted to make a move, if you wanted to do something, like at this point, I just want to go home.”

The Uber the woman had summoned was a few minutes from arriving, she reportedly told him, but Rodriguez-Contreras allegedly did not heed her message.

“You had your chance; now is not the time,” she said she informed him. “[It] felt like he was trying to undress me in the elevator.”

When she reminded him that the elevator doors could open to a stranger at any moment, she said the young man tried to play dumb.

“Oh, I forgot,” was his explanation, she said.

This narrative comes from an interview the young woman, a 2023 UVa graduate now pursuing her master’s degree in nursing at the school, gave to a Charlottesville police detective earlier this year.

“This can’t happen,” the allegedly panicked woman recalls thinking. “Like what’s going on?”

Rodriguez-Contreras had pulled down both her pants and his pants as they exited the Standard apartment building, she says. Even though it was after 2 a.m. when traffic is light, she says he bent her over and violated her in view of West Main Street.

“He just kept ignoring everything I was saying the entire time,” she told the investigator. “And he just kept going and kept going.”

The young woman alleges that the May 25, 2023, incident transpired so quickly, under five minutes, that she was not late for the Uber which took her home. But after a shower and a night’s sleep she had a realization: What happened “was not okay.”

Nine months later, she told her story to the detective at the Charlottesville police station. Two months later, on April 21, Rodriguez-Contreras was arrested and charged with rape.

A conviction on such a charge can carry a term ranging from five years to life in prison.

The alleged victim told the detective that he had been drinking alcohol and she had consumed a THC edible the night of the incident.

“The shades of gray made me a little bit concerned that it would be hard to argue something like this,” she told the investigator. “But I had made it very clear in the moment that I was not wanting to pursue or sleep with him.”

Three weeks before the young woman stepped into the police station, in early February, Rodriguez-Contreras was arrested on another rape charge. Rodriguez-Contreras has been charged with malicious wounding, rape and sexual battery after another UVa student alleged he became violent with her while she was at his apartment.

And a few months before that charge, Rodriguez-Contreras was arrested in New York City, where he faces a third accusation of sexual assault stemming from a December incident.

Since his arrest in Albemarle County, Rodriguez- Contreras is no longer listed as a student at UVa.

His trial on the Albemarle rape charge has been set for three days beginning July 8. His next hearing on the Charlottesville charge is slated for June 20. Although previously allowed by a court to remain at his apartment under an electronic monitoring system, the new arrest has him held without bail at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.


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