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Man accused of being 'BYU groper' is charged

Published July 17, 2014 11:20 am

Crime • He faces two charges now; more may be coming.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A man who gained notoriety for allegedly committing more than a dozen sexual assaults on Brigham Young University's campus was charged Thursday with two misdemeanors.

Nathan Eric Fletcher, 22, whose alleged misdeeds earned him the nickname of the "BYU groper," has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.

He could face up to a year in jail for each count, and more charges may be coming.

"These are two cases of the 16 that were ready to be presented to the prosecutors office," said BYU police spokesman Lt. Arnold Lemmon. "We didn't want to wait until we had 16 put together to charge him."

According to BYU police, Fletcher was identified after officers obtained video footage of the alleged crimes and then asked victims to identify the man.

Fletcher is a student at the university.

He has never been charged with a crime, according to Utah court records.

He was served with a summons and is required to appear in court before 4th District Judge Derek Pullan on May 1.

It was not immediately clear whether Fletcher would face disciplinary action from the university itself, but as of April 1 he was banned from the campus.

"If he comes anywhere on university property, he will be arrested," Lemmon said.

According to police, Fletcher typically acted swiftly — allegedly grabbing women's breasts as they walked or jogged by him.

In March, a camera at Heritage Halls captured footage of a woman descending a flight of stairs and stepping onto the sidewalk, where a man in a gray sweatshirt and black pants walked past her and grabbed her breast.

"He doesn't even break stride," Lemmon said.

Two hours later, another woman was jogging in a parking lot east of the football stadium when she ran past a man, who grabbed her breast, Lemmon said.

In addition to those attacks, gropings have occurred at Helaman Halls, Wymount Terrace, off-campus housing in Provo, and one just outside the campus police office, Lemmon said. The first was reported Jan. 23. They have occurred as early as 5:20 p.m. and as late as 3 a.m.

Although Fletcher remains out of custody, Lemmon said he didn't think he poses a significant public safety risk since he was banned from campus and charged with crimes.

However, if students feel unsafe, Lemmon has urged them to take advantage of BYU's Safe Walk program.

"A student can call in to our office at 801-422-2222 and request an escort," he has said. "We either send a [campus] security officer or a police officer to walk them to any location on campus, and if there are extenuating circumstances, even to their front doors."

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @marissa_jae