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Boulder police claim DNA tests link Air Force Academy cadet Daniel Ryerson to the Nov. 1 rape of an academy classmate, court papers say.

Ryerson, a 21-year-old junior, was arrested by Boulder authorities Friday in the alleged attack, which police say took place after a night of party "crashing" in downtown Boulder. Court papers describe Ryerson escorting an increasingly incapacitated female cadet around town, stopping at apartments where loud music and revelers were present.

Police say Ryerson repeatedly denied having sex with the female cadet. But genetic material gathered in a sexual assault exam matches him so exactly that "in the absence of an identical twin, Ryerson is the source of DNA profile developed from this item," his affidavit says.

The 14-page affidavit reveals stories from Ryerson on what happened that night. He initially told officers he protected his fellow cadet from other party-goers and escorted her back to a hotel when it was obvious she was drunk.

In a later interview, Ryerson continued to deny having sex with his classmate but said "he was under the influence" and couldn't rule out the possibility of sex, police wrote.

Ryerson and the female cadet described drinking before heading to the parties - splitting a bottle of wine and consuming one hard cider each, police said.

During the parties, where police say Ryerson gained entry from strangers by offering alcohol, the woman told officers she consumed several drinks containing hard 
alcohol supplied by Ryerson.

A witness at one party, who didn't know either cadet, said that at one point Ryerson escorted the stumbling female cadet into a bathroom where the two were behind a locked door for 20 minutes, the affidavit said.

Witnesses say Ryerson later "carried" the unconscious female cadet from the party, police wrote.

The next day, the cadet told Ryerson she had blacked out and suspected she had been drugged and sexually assaulted. The woman spoke to officers at the academy and her father, who told her to go to a hospital to be checked for signs of sexual assault, police said.

A Nov. 2 examination at Memorial Hospital, where Ryerson drove the woman, revealed bruising and tearing associated with sexual assault, the affidavit said. Nurses at Memorial also obtained DNA samples that were handed over to Boulder police, who quickly claimed jurisdiction in the case.

The female cadet burst into tears after learning she had been raped, the affidavit said. Nurses also noted that the woman referred to Ryerson as her "wing man."

Boulder police say that when the results of DNA tests came back Jan. 12, they had enough evidence to arrest Ryerson on suspicion of kidnapping and sexual assault of a helpless victim. The crimes carry a maximum penalty of 48 years in prison under state sentencing guidelines.

Ryerson has been released from the Boulder County jail on $20,000 bail and has a court hearing set for Feb. 19.

Air Force Academy officials wouldn't comment on whether the military had placed any restrictions on Ryerson while he awaits the outcome of the case.

That Boulder has stood on its right to prosecute the case is a rarity. In past cases of off-campus sexual assaults between cadets since 2003, the military has successfully sought jurisdiction to prosecute them through courts-martial.

Catherine Olguin, a spokeswoman for the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Boulder, said the reason they've kept the case is this: "Because the crime occurred in Boulder County and it's this office's preference to prosecute crimes that fall within its jurisdiction, particularly sex assaults."

Olguin said her office is home to national experts in the prosecution of rape.

"Boulder is well known among the prosecution community for its expertise in handling these types of cases," she said.


Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

On Twitter: @xroederx

Senior Military Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's senior military editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom covers seven military installations in Colorado, including five in the Pikes Peak region. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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