A University of Arizona student facing a trial in connection with a 2017 sexual assault rejected a plea agreement Friday morning.
David Lipan was indicted by a Pima County grand jury last February on one count of sexual assault, a class two felony. If convicted, Lipan faces a mandatory prison sentence of between 5.25 and 14 years, according to Arizona sentencing guidelines. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Under the terms of the rejected plea, Lipan would have pleaded guilty to a class 5 felony count of sexual abuse and served between 0.5 and 2.75 years in prison if he didn’t receive probation, which was also a possible sentence. The requirement to register as a sex offender would have been left up to the discretion of the judge at sentencing.
The charges stem from an Aug. 24, 2017, party at Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity attended by a UA freshman who had arrived on campus just five days earlier. She told university police that shortly after arriving the party, she had a shot of alcohol and followed it with something from a Gatorade bottle, according to the UAPD police report.
She told police that she and a friend went into Lipan’s room and had a few more drinks, after which her friend left the room. Lipan locked the door, climbed on top of the woman and pinned her wrists above her head while she pleaded with him to stop, according to the police report.
When the alleged assault was over, the woman ran from the room and left the fraternity, forgetting her shoes in her haste to get away, the police report says.
Police noted visible marks and bruising on the woman’s neck and collected her clothing as evidence before taking her to the hospital, according to the police report.
At the time, the woman was unsure if she wanted to press charges, but later changed her mind. Shortly before Lipan’s arrest, she filed a $2.5 million claim against the UA, saying the fraternity has a history of dangerous conduct.
A review of UA’s fraternity disciplinary records shortly after Lipan was indicted showed that Sigma Alpha Mu had four code-of-conduct violations during the 2017-2018 school year, including endangerment and alcohol.
Last fall, the fraternity was sanctioned by the UA’s Greek Standards Board for violating school policies involving alcohol.
It’s unclear if the UA settled the claim with the woman, but the case was never filed in Pima County Superior Court.
Less than two months after Lipan’s arrest, he was granted permission by the court to travel to California for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He spent the summer with his parents in Aurora, Illinois, before returning to the UA in August.
Lipan has since traveled to San Diego twice, returned to Aurora for Christmas and spent several days in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico following the new year.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office offered Lipan the plea deal Nov. 20, a week after the UA was required to produce its Title IX investigation into the alleged assault.
On Dec. 5, Deputy Pima County Attorney Alan Goodwin filed notice with the court that the state would be using “instances” of another crime during Lipan’s trial.
The document included a narrative that detailed a second alleged sexual assault committed by Lipan in Naperville, Illinois, in 2015.
Lipan, then 17 and a high school senior, picked up a 14-year-old freshman who he knew through mutual friends, the document says.
After picking her up, Lipan drove to a parking lot where he told the girl to get in the back seat of the car, turned off her phone and forced her to perform oral sex two separate times, the document says.
When the alleged assault was over, the girl got out of the car and Lipan drove away, leaving her in the parking lot. The girl called her parents, who called police. When her parents and officers arrived, the girl was crying, but didn’t tell them about the alleged assault, the document says.
The girl is included on the state’s witness list for trial, indicating that she plans to testify about the incident.
During Friday’s hearing, Lipan’s attorney Steven Sherick asked the court to keep the trial date set for March 26.