A Texas man remains jailed in Vermont following accusations he posed as a medical researcher in order to sexually violate a Middlebury College student.
Nam Vu Bui, 31, of Houston, appeared to pray before his court appearance Tuesday morning in Middlebury.
"The evidence of guilt is great," prosecutor Dennis Wygmans told Judge Samuel Hoar.
Investigators said Vu Bui claimed to be a medical resident at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, where he was studying early detection of cancer in women.
However, Detective Kristine Bowdish of the Middlebury Police Department wrote in paperwork filed with the court that Nam Vu Bui was not a licensed doctor in Vermont, was not an employee of Dartmouth Hitchcock, was not conducting a research project through Dartmouth, and was not really affiliated with a medical device company Vu Bui claimed to be using.
Instead, the court paperwork shows Vu Bui was a merely a guest of a Middlebury student who told Bowdish she believed his story. The college said he was not registered as a guest to campus.
Investigators said Vu Bui asked that young woman's friends to take part in his supposed research last month, offering $500-$1,000 for their participation.
One undergrad, who said she trusted the suspect and thought his work was important to help women's health, said Vu Bui wanted her to be blindfolded so she couldn't see a top-secret medical product he was using for the study.
Court documents revealed that student soon discovered in the dorm room exam that Vu Bui did not have any pants on, and was recording video of her genital area while touching her.
"I feel very violated by this whole event," the student told police.
"He represented he could determine whether a woman had cervical or breast cancer, and as such, he played on some of the gravest fears that a young woman might have," Wygmans told Judge Hoar, adding that Vu Bui was a very charming and convincing person who was able to craft a story that seemed normal to the students.
The prosecutor said the bogus doctor approached other students about participating in his exams, and said the investigation is ongoing.
Vu Bui has pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges, including illegal advertisement of medical services, voyeurism and sexual assault.
If the suspect is convicted on the sexual assault charge, it carries a potential punishment of three years in prison to a maximum life sentence.
Defense attorney Lisa Shelkrot argued that the evidence on some of the charges is flimsy.
"The consent question here is a complicated one," Shelkrot said in remarks to Judge Hoar. "It's not an immediate, obvious lack of consent. On its face, the complainant here consented. And that's a situation where the court is going to have to make a much more searching inquiry as to whether there was deception, whether the deception was deliberate, and whether the deception was material to the consent that was given."
Shelkrot asked Tuesday for her client to be released from jail to the custody of a family friend in New York. The request drew a strong objection from the prosecution, who argued releasing him may put other women at risk.
Judge Hoar said he would review evidence submitted to him Tuesday and rule by the end of the day Wednesday on the question of release.
Two emails Middlebury College sent the campus last month after learning about the student's reports were obtained by necn.
The public safety alerts urged students to stay vigilant and report any suspicious people to the Middlebury College Public Safety Department to the Middlebury Police Department.
The liberal arts school said in a statement to necn, "Middlebury College takes these charges very seriously and we are cooperating with the Middlebury Police Department. We are conducting our own investigation into the circumstances of Nam Vu Bui's presence on campus. Our priority is ensuring the safety of our campus, and providing resources and support for members of our community."