As first reported by the Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell freshman runner Saano Murembya was arrested on Sunday afternoon by the school’s police department after taking LSD and threatening to rape several students. Murembya was charged with two felony counts of attempted sexual abuse and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful imprisonment. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released from Tompkins County Jail after posting bail. Murembya was a member of the Cornell cross country and track and field teams, though he’s apparently since been kicked off.
Cornell PD crime logs show that someone was arrested for a sex offense near the Robert Purcell Community Center on Sunday afternoon around 4:30 p.m., which lines up with the account laid out in witness statements obtained from Ithaca City Court by the Sun. Murembya’s girlfriend says she saw him take a tab of LSD with “more than one dose” on it shortly after noon on Sunday. Murembya initially felt fine, though once he started peaking, witnesses say he became erratic and angry. His girlfriend said he threw her on the floor and told her he wanted to rape her, and when his roommate showed up to try to calm him down, Murembya fled, wearing nothing but a T-shirt.
Once outside, witnesses apparently saw Murembya attack a woman at the Robert Purcell Community Center. He is accused of grabbing her, holding her down, and yelling that he was going to rape her. The attack was stopped by custodian Rogelio Gordon, who wrestled Murembya off the woman twice and eventually brought her to safety. Gordon says Murembya shoved Gordon away the first time and continued to chase the woman, grabbing her again and attempting to unzip her jacket “He was foaming at the mouth,” Gordon told the Sun today. “He was just out of it. Instincts and having cared for my daughter, my girl, my mom, my sister — all that came into play. If something happened to them, I’d want someone else to do the same thing.”
Gordon ushered the woman to safety, and says that Murembya then ran outside. Two women ran out of the hall away from Murembya, and when he saw them, he allegedly urged them to come over to him. When they wouldn’t, they said he ran over to them. One of the women says they tried to hide behind a tree, only for Murembya to run after them, “touch them with his genitals,” and tell them he was going to rape them. Gordon and freshman student Ian Moritz say they caught up with and chased off Murembya before he could carry the assault any further.
After that, witnesses say he ran into a field, where he yelled that “he [wanted] to rape someone.” Moritz subdued him with a headlock, and the police collected him shortly after:
“Throughout the time I was holding him, I heard him say that he wanted to ‘fuck’ the women he was going after and that he wanted it all to end and that he wanted to die,” [Moritz] told police. “I told him that people were going to help him and that he was going to be OK.”
Murembya was then taken to a local hospital for evaluations before going to jail. Cornell police credited Moritz and Gordon for stopping the runner from doing “a lot more bad stuff.”