Suspect caught with alleged victim
A 20-year-old man charged with sexual assault this spring in connection with allegations that he raped a drunken teenager after a party was re-arrested Wednesday after being caught in a car with the same girl at 3 a.m. in Canyon View Park.
Carlos Vendegna, who was on full scholarship at Colorado Mesa University when he allegedly had sex with the unconscious 17-year-old at his dorm room in Wingate Hall, is facing a felony protection order violation charge as a result of Wednesday’s arrest.
Vendegna was 19 at the time of the alleged rape, and was friends with the 17-year-old girl, earlier reports said.
He has been out on bond and living with his parents for several months, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre Wednesday afternoon during Vendegna’s bond hearing before Mesa County Judge Craig Henderson.
Vendegna was arrested after a police officer came across a white passenger car in Canyon View Park at about 3 a.m., well after the park’s closing time, Vendegna’s arrest affidavit said.
“I lit the vehicle up with my spotlight and observed occupants inside the vehicle attempting to duck down and hide,” the report said.
The officer found that Vendegna had a protection order restraining him from any contact with the teen and arrested him, the report said.
Appearing by video conference Wednesday afternoon, Vendegna cried as his father spoke to the court, telling Henderson that his family had been blindsided by a phone call from police about Vendegna’s arrest early that morning.
“We’ve had no issues with him since he’s got out,” the man said. “He’s been nothing but a blessing to us.”
Mahre said she learned from the 17-year-old victim that Vendegna’s parents are “quite strict,” and said she would not object to Henderson ordering the couple as co-signers on his bond.
Henderson agreed and allowed Vendegna’s parents to sign him out of the jail on a $5,000 co-signed personal-recognizance bond.
He is still restrained from contact with the 17-year-old girl, and is due back in court Sept. 27.
Vendegna is no longer a student at CMU, according to university spokeswoman Dana Nunn.