A Monroe man was charged Friday with nine different sexual assaults involving seven women over the past six years at Eastern Michigan University.
Ypsilanti police arrested 23-year-old Dustyn Michael Durbin on July 29, after being accused of multiple sexual assaults since his enrollment at EMU in the fall of 2014. He stood silently in front of Washtenaw County’s 14A-1 District Court as his attorney, David I. Goldstein, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Each charge stems from reports of seven women who claim to be victims of Durbin’s misconduct. According to Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor John Vella, the attacks were said to have occurred between Nov. 2015 and May 2019, when the women were college freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Another case involving an eighth woman is expected to be added, Vella said during the arraignment.
Vella said Durbin used a fear tactic to intimidate his victims from contacting police after committing violent acts of sexual force, some of which were committed in the Alpha Sigma Phi house.
“He contacted numerous victims after the sexual assaults, tried to get them to not report it to the police, told them that he was going to become a police officer, and identified to several victims that his best friend was a police officer,” Vella said.
Vella noted possibility of bond and flight risk after Durbin told police he’s applied to become a police officer in Seattle, where his parents live. He also warned of public safety concern and cited a history of suicidal ideation involving Durbin crashing a car.
According to information provided by the prosecutor’s office, he faces five counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving use of force or coercion to commit sexual penetration, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Durbin also faces three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, in which sexual contact is made when someone is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, a charge punishable by up to two years incarcerated.
He faces one felony count of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Magistrate James Cameron declined Vella's request for a $500,000 bond and gave Durbin a bond of 10% of $150,000. He is scheduled for a probable cause conference on Thursday, Aug. 13 and a preliminary examination on Tuesday, Aug. 18.
The Ypsilanti Police Department said in a news release that the case arose recently when a woman stepped forward to police as a victim of sexual assault. Her account stemmed to the identification of several other women who claimed to be survivors as well.
Deangelo McWilliams, a 24-year-old Washtenaw County deputy, has been charged with criminal sex conduct toward multiple women during his time as a student at EMU between 2015 and 2019. McWilliams and Durbin were part of the same fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi, and are reportedly friends.
Some of Durbin’s fellow fraternity members, including McWilliams, were considered suspects in the sexual assault cases.
The case puts an ugly stain on campus Greek Life. According to the National Institute of Justice, 25% of sexual assault victims in one survey were sorority members, which is a “risk factor” for sexual assault.
Fraternity men are three times more likely to commit rape than their non-Greek peers.
In recent years, new laws have broadened the rights of sexually assaulted college victims. The scope of the 1972 anti-discrimination law, Title IX, has expanded to include a hard stance on sexual assault, adding unavoidable liability and making it harder for universities to take a passive role in rape prevention.
“There is no place at Eastern Michigan University for conduct like that alleged in these complaints. I send my deepest thoughts of support to all survivors of sexual assault,” EMU President James Smith said in a statement today. “The University takes these matters extremely seriously. We have no higher priority than to create and maintain a safe, thriving, and welcoming community for our students. We stand by survivors and vow to do everything in our power to support them.”
Smith encouraged any and all victims to step forward with their accounts, regardless of when the incident happened.
Those who believe they may have been a victim or witness to Durbin’s misconduct are asked to contact Detective Jessica Lowry at 734-368 8784 or Jwelker@cityofypsilanti, or Detective Annette Coppock at 734-368 8776 or Acoppock@cityofypsilanti.com.
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