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ND student faces felony charges after attempted stabbing

Sarah Mervosh | Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The Notre Dame student who attempted to stab another student in a dorm room earlier this week was charged Wednesday by the county prosecutor.

Sophomore Vanessa Cabello was charged with attempted battery, according to the affidavit posted on WNDU’s website. The offense is a class C felony, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of six to eight years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Cabello attempted to stab a male student acquaintance in a Siegfried Hall dorm room Sunday. After a short struggle, the male student was able to take control of the knife and locked Cabello in the room until Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) arrived, the affidavit stated.

Cabello told police the male student had sexually assaulted her in her dorm room on Nov. 20, but she had not reported the incident to authorities or sought medical treatment. She also declined medical treatment following the incident on Sunday.

The male student said the sex was consensual. The Observer is not naming the male student because he is the alleged victim of a crime, and has not been charged with a crime related to Cabello’s allegations of sexual assault.

University Spokesman Dennis Brown released a statement on behalf of the University on Wednesday evening.

“Notre Dame is deeply troubled by these events and continues to take all appropriate action to ensure the safety of everyone involved and hold accountable those who have violated the law and/or University policy,” the statement said.  “Whenever the University is made aware of a sexual assault allegation, we take the report seriously and conduct a prompt and thorough investigation.”

Cabello told police she went to the male’s room Sunday to discuss frustration she had felt toward him since the alleged sexual assault. She said she brought the knife as “self-defense,” according to the affidavit.

Police saw “superficial cuts” on Cabello’s wrists when they entered the room Sunday, but Cabello said the male student had not threatened or struck her in the past or during the incident in his room.

University Spokesman Dennis Brown declined to comment on the status of Cabello’s enrollment at Notre Dame, but said the University reserves the right “to temporarily dismiss any student who is charged with a felony.”

Brown said the University did not issue an email alert to the student body, as is customary in incidents of crime against students, because NDSP mitigated the threat in a prompt manner.

“A timely warning was not issued because the alleged assailant was immediately detained by NDSP and therefore was not a threat to the community,” he said.

The University statement said the circumstances leading to the charges against Cabello were “immediately and thoroughly” investigated by NDSP and turned over to local law enforcement.

“The University has and will continue to work with the authorities as this matter proceeds through the criminal justice system,” the statement said.