ST. PAUL, Minn. — A 19-year-old Minnesota man is facing serious charges after allegedly holding his girlfriend captive in her university dorm room, subjecting her to days of physical and sexual abuse. The incident, which took place at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, began when the suspect reportedly became enraged over text messages and photos on the victim’s phone.
Keanu Avery Labatte, a resident of Granite Falls, is accused of initiating the series of assaults last Thursday, Sept. 7. According to investigators, Labatte confiscated the victim’s phone, threatened her with a knife, and proceeded to sexually assault, strangle, and beat her until Sunday morning. The victim was able to escape after convincing Labatte to let her leave the room to get food.
The complaint details the escalating violence, stating that Labatte transitioned from consensual acts to forceful sexual assault after the victim refused his advances. The suspect also allegedly threatened to kill the victim and her family members, hinting at a similar incident involving a previous girlfriend.
During the ordeal, the victim reported that Labatte physically assaulted her, strangled her, and threatened her life. She also described a terrifying incident where Labatte moved a mattress from the bed frame to the floor to muffle the sound of his assaults. Over the weekend, the victim said Labatte began waterboarding her in a bathtub.
At the time of the alleged assault, Labatte was on probation in Yellow Medicine County for violating a harassment restraining order filed by another victim’s family. The victim was able to escape and call for help on Sunday morning when Labatte returned her phone under the condition that she update him on her whereabouts. When police arrived at the scene, Labatte was still present and reportedly invoked his right to remain silent.
Labatte is now facing charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, threats of violence, and domestic assault by strangulation. If convicted, the top charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. Labatte’s bail was set at $80,000, and he remains in jail custody.