Police Arrest Man After Attempted Abduction of UVA Student

Posted: Updated: Nov 10, 2012 04:50 PM EST

Update from University of Virginia Office of Public Affairs (11/12/12): The victim says her SARA training did not contribute at all to her ability to thwart the abduction attempt. Rather, she said, the training was for her and other sorority members and provided them the training to be able to serve as mentors for victims of sexual assault, and to be able to identify, in girls, signs of sexual assault. There was no training on how to physically escape an attempted assault.

A UVA spokesman expressed these concerns to the city police, since they were the ones who provided the press release and the only source of additional comment to media about this incident. The police captain who issued the release said the description in the release was based on information he received from detectives who interviewed the victim, and he expects that is where the miscommunication occurred.

Charlottesville police have a man in custody after the attempted abduction of a University of Virginia student Thursday night.  Matthew Rene Beaulieu, 26,  was charged with felony abduction and attempt to defile.

A 19-year-old student says she was walking on Stadium Road near Runk Dining Hall around midnight when she noticed a car following her.  The car stopped, and a man ran toward her and tried to drag her into the car.  The student fought back and screamed.  After she fell to the ground, the man gave up, got back in his vehicle and drove away.  She then called 911 with a detailed description of her attacker.

Police arrested Beaulieu a short time later on Interstate 64.  He is being held without bond in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.  UVA subcontractor Aramark confirms Beaulieu worked for them inside a university dining hall.

The victim has some minor scrapes and bruises from the attack.

Captain Gary Pleasants with the Charlottesville Police Department said, "Very recently SARA, the sexual assault resource center in this area, had done a training class at her sorority and she used what they taught her how to escape this incident which was very good for her.  She very well could have saved her own life."

Rebecca Weybright, the executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Agency said, "It's really exciting that she had received something that was able to help her in this situation because how wonderful to be able to talk about it as it's happened now versus sometime after something horrible having happened."      

If you would like more information about how SARA can help, you can call their hotline at 434-977-7273.

Charlottesville Police Department
Press Release

Charlottesville Police are investigating an abduction that occurred Thursday night around midnight in the 2200 block of Stadium Road. A 19-year-old female UVA student was walking on Stadium Road when she noticed a vehicle that appeared to be following her. The vehicle then stopped and the lone occupant got out of the vehicle and ran toward the victim. The suspect then grabbed the victim and tried to pull her to his vehicle.

The victim fought her attacker to the point that he finally gave up, returned to his vehicle and left the area.

The victim immediately called 911 and gave a description of the attacker and the suspect vehicle. The vehicle was stopped on Interstate 64 at Exit 120 by Charlottesville Police officer Joey Lewis and the occupant was subsequently arrested.

Charlottesville Police have charged 26-year-old Matthew Rene Beaulieu with Abduction with the intent to defile, a class 2 felony. Mr. Beaulieu is being held without bond in the Charlottesville/Albemarle Regional Complex.

The victim told Charlottesville Police detectives that representatives from the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) had recently conducted training at her sorority house on how to react in the case of an attempted sexual assault. The victim credits this training with helping her to escape the suspect.

The victim received minor scrapes and bruises in the attack.