Bristol County

Former Wheaton College student athlete accused of raping, choking freshman co-ed in 2021

NORTON, Mass. — Her attorney said a former Wheaton College lacrosse player will be scarred for the rest of her life.

“Every intimate act in the future will remind you of this,” said Wendy Murphy, the victim’s lawyer. “This is a life-long event in the sense that she will be retraumatized over and over and over again.”

The alleged rape occurred on the morning of Sept. 11, 2021.

She was a freshman at Wheaton — just days into her college career. The night before, she attended a party, along with her lacrosse teammates, at 5 Taunton Ave., also known as the Men’s Lacrosse House. As the party wrapped up, one of those lacrosse men, Oliver La Du, a sophomore, was reportedly there to walk her home. He is now accused of violently raping and strangling her.

On Tuesday, Oliver La Du, 22, of Darien, Connecticut, was arraigned in Attleboro District Court on two counts of rape and one count of strangulation or suffocation in connection with that night. La Du, who is now a student at the University of Colorado, was summonsed to court after police charged him on Feb. 7, court documents show. He was released without bail and is due back in court on June 7.

In court documents, the victim recalled that on that night back in 2021, after several minutes of walking, she had a “bad feeling” because of her unfamiliarity with the campus — and her unfamiliarity with La Du.

“They stopped at a dorm that was not hers,” court documents show, “And she said this is not where she lived.”

It was a house where La Du lived, and after claiming he needed to “go grab something” — he urged her to come up to his room. The freshman said she felt intimidated and went inside.

Once in the room, she described a terrifying ordeal, where La Du allegedly locked the door, blocked her exit, and “very forcefully” raped her, causing her to bleed, according to court documents.

La Du allegedly also put a hand on her throat “which caused her to experience difficulty breathing and a choking sensation,” court documents show. The victim said she told La Du, “Stop, you’re hurting me,” and that La Du’s response was to laugh.

The victim said she gathered her clothes and ran out of the room. In the following days, she reported the assault to friends, health care workers and police.

“The question, at the time, was... we could proceed, what do you want to do,” Murphy said. “At the time she was very traumatized.”

But two years later, the victim was ready to proceed and contacted Murphy.

“Trauma causes people to feel all sorts of things,” Murphy said. “Somebody might react one way, somebody a different way. But it’s very typical, in my experience, for a victim to wait before reporting a sexual assault.”

Boston 25 tried to reach La Du’s attorney for comment, but could not leave a message.

Authorities opted to put off La Du’s charges and arraignment until he was back in the area, as he left Wheaton College for the University of Colorado in Boulder after the alleged rape. Murphy thought his appearance might come at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it continued to be delayed.

However, the case is now moving forward — with a pretrial conference scheduled for June. Murphy said her client is ready to testify — and wants to move forward because so many women who should — don’t.

“You know this was kind of a wonderful new exciting adventure for her... and her college experience was destroyed,” Murphy said.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, The state also lists available resources for sexual assault survivors on its website.

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