As of Monday afternoon, UCSB first-year Christian Covarrubias was still in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail, where he is being held on felony charges of attempted rape and burglary that he allegedly committed in a university residence hall.
UC Police Dept. officers arrested the Francisco Torres (FT) Residence Hall resident early Saturday morning after a female FT resident identified him as the man who had allegedly attempted to sexually assault her in her room. UCPD Officer Mark Signa said Covarrubias, 18, will remain in custody until his $250,000 bail is paid or the court releases him.
If convicted, Covarrubias could face probation or one year in jail, said Associated Students Legal Resource Center attorney Robin Unander, but he could potentially face a harsher sentence, depending on what the court deems appropriate.
Under university regulations, Unander said, Covarrubias should be evicted from the residence halls if he is convicted of the crimes he has been charged with.
“If he’s convicted, then he’ll have to face more serious consequences than being evicted,” Unander said.
Jorge Arroyo, FT assistant resident director, declined to comment at this time as to whether Covarrubias would be evicted.
Dean of Students Yonnie Harris said the university has not yet determined if it will impose sanctions on Covarrubias, such as suspension or dismissal, because his case is currently under investigation.
“If these allegations do violate campus policies and regulations applying to students, then appropriate action will be taken,” Harris said.
Signa said UCPD officers responded to a call Saturday at 5:40 a.m. from a woman who claimed a man had broken into her room and attempted to assault her. After a search of the area, officers found a man – Covarrubias – who matched the description the victim had provided.
Covarrubias, who has no criminal record, did not run from officers or put up a fight, and was not carrying a weapon, Signa said. Covarrubias admitted to being in the area during the time of the incident.
After police brought him to her, the woman, who was unharmed, identified Covarrubias as her alleged attacker.
The victim and Covarrubias claimed to have never spoken in person, Signa said, though they had some contact on Facebook.com. Covarrubias did not live on the woman’s floor and he was not under the influence of drugs, Signa said.
“He had been drinking,” Signa said, “But it did not affect his ability to think or act.”
Arroyo said the residence halls will not make any special changes in response to the alleged incident. As per usual policy, resident assistants patrol the halls every night and consistently remind residents to keep their doors locked, he said. As of this year, exterior doors are now electronically locked, instead of the old, less secure key system, Arroyo said.
“There’s nothing else we can do as far as security precautions,” Arroyo said.
Signa said about four or five on-campus sexual assaults are reported each year. The set bail for a sexual assault charge is $60,000, but it may be increased if the suspect is a potential flight risk or if the crime is of a more serious nature.