Man charged in rape on ETSU campus arraigned

Becky Campbell • May 20, 2019 at 6:31 PM

A man accused of sexually assaulting an East Tennessee State University student on campus in February was arraigned on rape and kidnapping charges Monday in a Washington County courtroom.

David Franklin Creech, 40, appeared before Judge Lisa Rice, who appointed the public defender’s office to represent him. He was charged by ETSU with aggravated rape, attempted aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal exposure to the hepatitis C virus related to a Feb. 24 assault on campus.

Creech pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday. He wasn’t the first person charged in the case because ETSU police apparently arrested another man before charging Creech.

The female victim in the case told ETSU’s Public Safety department she had been walking near the campus powerhouse around 4 a.m. Feb. 24 when she was attacked by a man with a knife. The man ran toward West State of Franklin Road.

She described the attacker as white, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, skinny and having blondish/brown shaggy hair. She also described him as having a pointy, big nose and a pointy chin. The man was wearing blue jeans, brown work boots and a dark color jacket.

ETSU declined to release any other details about the case, but the court records filed soon after stated the attacker forced the woman to perform oral sex and she bit him in an attempt to get away. She was able to run, but the man caught up to her and injured her with the knife, records said.

With the case going to the grand jury first, there was no affidavit filed. Details about the incident were revealed in a search warrant filed Feb. 25 in which an ETSU investigator had Creech’s genitals examined to look for an injury the victim allegedly inflicted.

In the search warrant that was returned to the clerk’s office after being served, it indicated that Creech was examined at Johnson City Medical Center and had injuries consistent with what the victim described. Creech was not the original suspect in the case, and not the first person arrested.

Johnson City police said they found a man matching the description walking in the area. A photo of the man was shown to the victim, who told police that was the man who attacked her. ETSU police arrested him.

But when the man was taken to be arraigned the next day, the case was dismissed and expunged by a court order from a Sessions judge. Police later focused on Creech in the investigation after he was at Johnson City Medical Center in another situation, according to police records.

The Johnson City Press sought comment from ETSU Public Safety officials about the original arrest, but Chief Nicole Collins declined to comment about the details.

“This case remains an ongoing investigation and we cannot provide any further details at this time,” Collins said in a statement released by ETSU University Relations. “A suspect is in custody and has been arrested.”

Editor’s note: The Johnson City Press has elected not to identify the first man arrested in the case because the charges were dismissed and expunged. This is a developing story. Continue visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for details as they are made available.

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