Canadian diver charged with University of Utah dorm room rape

·2-min read
FILE - The University of Utah campus is viewed from Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 23, 2018. A former University of Utah diver Ben Smyth has been arrested and charged with raping a young woman last fall in a dorm room. In charging documents, detectives say Smyth acknowledged the woman was in pain during the encounter and later fled to Canada upon learning that he was being investigated for rape. The Salt Lake County District Attorney said on Friday, May 12, 2023, that Smyth had returned to the United States. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A University of Utah diver has been arrested and charged with raping a young woman in her dorm room during the first week of the school year last fall.

Prosecutors have charged Ben Smyth, a Canadian diver in his second year at Utah, with sodomy, sexual abuse and rape. In an indictment filed this week, detectives say Smyth went to a woman’s dorm room after confirming she was alone last August. He asked her to play “truth or dare” and then allegedly raped her while she resisted physically, said she “did not want to do that,” shook her head no and told him she was in pain.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Smyth was arrested upon returning to the United States this week.

“It is our understanding that he is in custody in Seattle,” Gill said

Scott Wilding, Smyth’s attorney, declined to comment on the charges or whether he had returned to surrender voluntarily or was caught when his return to the country triggered the warrant.

The indictment, which does not name the woman, also says that when detectives went to serve Smyth with a protective order to keep him away from the woman, a roommate said he had moved out. A private investigator later told detectives that Smyth had returned to Canada upon learning he was under investigation for rape.

Court documents say when detectives interviewed Smyth, he initially denied knowing the woman but later acknowledged having sex with her and that she was in pain. Detectives also write that Smyth's friends described him as bragging “about the number of women he has sex with," which he compiled into a list to show others.

The University of Utah athletic department said in a statement that Smyth was suspended from the men's swimming and diving team when the school was made aware of the allegations in February, before the Pac-12 Championships. Smyth did not compete this year but as a freshman took second in platform diving.

“We were made aware of a serious allegation involving a member of our men’s swimming and diving program. Upon being notified by the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity of a pending investigation, Ben Smyth was immediately suspended,” the department said.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said earlier this week after a warrant for Smyth's arrest was issued that his office was pursuing any means to return him to Utah.

The diver's arrest is at least the second time Pac-12 swimming and diving has confronted rape allegations in recent years. In 2016, Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner was found guilty of raping a woman after two graduate students caught him on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus.