Beaufort man charged with rape at NC college

Stewart is charged with second-degree rape. (Source: WBTV)
Stewart is charged with second-degree rape. (Source: WBTV)

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A 21-year-old college soccer player from Beaufort has been charged with second degree rape following an incident in a stairwell at a dorm on the Catawba College campus Sunday morning.

Matthew Stewart was arrested by Salisbury Police on Tuesday.  He is now out of jail on $50,000 bond.

Police say Stewart and the alleged victim were attending the same party Saturday night at the Hollifield dorm.  According to the report, the woman left the party and went down a stairwell.  Stewart followed her, and the two sat down and talked, the report states.

At some point during the conversation, police say Stewart assaulted the woman, putting his hands in her pants despite her pleas for him to stop.  Police say Stewart then pushed the woman against the wall and raped her.  The woman continued to push against Stewart in an attempt to get away, according to police.

After the incident, the woman contacted a school official who told her to call her parents and then go to the hospital.  Once at the hospital, workers in the Emergency Department contacted police.

"[This] is now a police matter and the college is fully cooperating with their investigation while proceeding with its internal processes to allow the young man charged to go thru judicial proceedings at the college," a spokesman for Catawba College said on Wednesday. "That is a little more complicated because the young man is prohibited from coming onto campus and can have no contact with his accuser."

Hollifield Residence Hall is listed on the school web site as being "an all female, substance free" dorm.

Police said Stewart was a member of Catawba college's soccer team, though any reference to him is gone from the school's soccer web site.  In a previous listing, Stewart was mentioned as wearing the #2 and being from Beaufort High School in South Carolina.

"We have sent out a Timely Notice to the campus community, alerting them that this incident occurred and assuring them that the accused is in police custody," the school's statement continued. "Now our focus is on protecting the normalcy of the campus community in these days before Easter break."

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