Utah sophomore diver arrested and charged with three felonies
Content warning: This section contains mention of sexual assault.
The GIST: On Friday, Utah sophomore diver Ben Smyth was arrested and charged with three felonies, including rape, after assaulting a classmate last August. Horrifying.
The details: While being questioned in February, Smyth initially lied about knowing the survivor before later acknowledging they had a sexual encounter. Soon after, he abruptly fled home to British Columbia, Canada. The investigation continued in his absence, and an arrest warrant was issued last Monday.
- He returned to the U.S. for unknown reasons on Friday, triggering his arrest. Prosecutors have requested that, as a demonstrated flight risk, Smyth be held without bail.
- According to Smyth’s own character witnesses, the diver has a history of misogynistic behavior and sexual aggression, including keeping a list of women he had sex with and demonstrating “motiva[tion] to add to the list.” Disgusting.
The response: To the university’s credit, Smyth was banned from team activities on February 20th, just four days after Utah’s athletic department became aware of the investigation. He is no longer listed on the diving team’s online roster.
Zooming out: In a terrible version of déjà vu, this incident is eerily similar to former Stanford diver Brock Turner’s 2016 crime. However, it seems that the university and authorities are pursuing justice for the survivor over protecting the alleged perpetrator. Here’s to hoping (and demanding) that remains the case.