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American man who sent ‘So I raped you’ Facebook message arrested in France after 3-year pursuit | WGN Radio 720

Detention of American Accused of Sexual Assault in France and Extradition Proceedings: Latest Update

An American accused of sexually assaulting a Pennsylvania college student in 2013 and later sending her a Facebook message that said, “So I raped you,” has been detained in France after a three-year search. Ian Thomas Cleary, 31, originally from Saratoga, California, was taken into custody in Metz last month and will be held pending extradition proceedings.

Cleary had been the subject of an international search since authorities in Pennsylvania issued a felony warrant in 2021 following an Associated Press story that highlighted the reluctance of local prosecutors to pursue campus sex crimes. The arrest warrant accuses Cleary of stalking an 18-year-old Gettysburg College student, sneaking into her dorm, and sexually assaulting her while she texted friends for help.

Cleary was detained in Metz on April 24 during a routine police check. He claimed to have arrived in France from Albania two or three years ago and had only recently come to Metz without proper housing. Cleary has ties to California and Maryland, with his father being a tech executive in Silicon Valley and his mother residing in Baltimore.

The victim, Shannon Keeler, had a rape exam done the same day she was assaulted in 2013 and had been urging officials to file charges for years. In 2021, after discovering Facebook messages from Cleary’s account, she went to authorities again. The messages included statements like, “So I raped you,” and, “I’ll never do it to anyone ever again.”

Cleary, who previously spent time in France and attended Santa Clara University in California, had been evading capture despite an Interpol red notice. The case highlights the challenges survivors face in pursuing justice for campus sexual assault cases. Keeler expressed gratitude for the warrant but emphasized that survivors should not have to go public with their stories to obtain justice.

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