Laws and Justice

French Court Rules American Man Accused of Assault Can Be Extradited to US

Main image to the post French Court Rules American Man Accused of Assault Can Be Extradited to US

A French court has made the judgment that Ian Cleary, a Californian man accused of sexually assaulting a Pennsylvania college student and sending her a Facebook message admitting to the assault, is eligible for extradition to the United States. This decision was made following a three-year search for Cleary, who was apprehended in Metz, France, and has since been in custody awaiting extradition proceedings. Despite the ruling allowing for extradition, Cleary has refused the process in accordance with French law, potentially causing delays but not preventing the ultimate extradition.

The Court of Appeal in Metz affirmed the extradition possibility for Cleary, who faced allegations of assaulting an 18-year-old student from Gettysburg College in her dormitory after stalking her at a party in 2013. The victim, Shannon Keeler, had gathered evidence and reported the assault years later after finding incriminating Facebook messages supposedly from Cleary. These messages, including a chilling confession of "So I raped you," prompted the issuance of a felony warrant against Cleary by Pennsylvania authorities in 2021. While the extradition case moves forward, Cleary remains incarcerated in France, with the responsibility now falling on the French Justice Ministry to finalize the process for the Prime Minister's approval.

Following his departure from Gettysburg College, Cleary pursued further education at Santa Clara University, worked at Tesla, and lived in France for several years. Meanwhile, Keeler, the brave survivor of the assault, continued her education, excelling in lacrosse, and played a role in leading her team to a national championship. The case sheds light on the challenges faced by victims of campus assaults in receiving justice, with societal reluctances and legal complexities often hindering prosecution efforts in such cases. Keeler's willingness to speak out about her experience highlights the difficulties survivors face in seeking accountability and the prevalence of unprosecuted campus assaults.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09