CORVALLIS, Ore. — Corvallis residents are sharing their frightening stories of finding a sexual assault suspect inside their homes.
Ronald Vaughan, 22, of Corvallis, is being held on a $1 million bail at the Benton County Jail. Corvallis Police say he sexually assaulted a woman in her shower on Wednesday in the 600 block of NW 23rd Street in Corvallis. Court documents say Vaughan entered a total of seven homes with the intention of finding someone to rape. Records state that he entered four dorm rooms at Cauthorn Hall on Oregon State University’s campus, as well as three townhouses on NW 23rd Street on Wednesday. The District Attorney’s Office says he also tried entering a fourth townhouse but was unsuccessful.
Two of the three residences on NW 23rd Street that Vaughan allegedly entered have male tenants. The tenants say they feel violated that someone would enter their homes.
“He pretty much hit every single house on the block, attempting to see if they were open,” said Matthew Ruetman, whose townhouse was allegedly entered by Vaughan.
“He came in and opened the door,” said Ruetman’s roomate Tyler Kluempke. “Everyone except one of our roommates was sleeping. And he was watching TV up on our couch, which is right up on the second floor.”
Kluempke says the suspect waited for about 20 seconds until he heard a male voice upstairs.
“He said: ‘Wrong house,’ then left really quickly,” Kluempke said. “And he left the door open. Our door was wide open until police came. They saw the door open and thought that maybe he was hiding inside our house so they came and searched for him.”
Police did not find anyone hiding in the house. Instead, police say Vaughan dropped his cell phone while he was undressing at the scene of the sexual assault, which helped investigators later track him down.
“The guy pretended that he was in the wrong house,” Ruetman said. “Which is actually something that happens quite often on this block because the door numbers are pretty poorly lit.”
Neighbors say the townhouses are so similar, that it is not unusual for visitors to enter the wrong home.
“It’s usually no big deal,” said Brett Kious, who lives in another townhouse the suspect entered, according to police. “They just apologize and move on. But this guy was definitely weird because he didn’t say anything, sprinted away; left our door wide open.”
Kious says he was in his bedroom on the first floor when he heard someone entering his townhouse around 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
“I heard someone coming in, then I heard my roomate upstairs yelling something. I just thought someone went into the wrong house.”
Kious says the suspect never went upstairs to the main floor, but his roomate peered down over the steps and saw the suspect sprint out the door.
“I felt like something wasn’t quite right,” Kious said. “It was creepy.”
Police say eventually, Vaughan found an unlocked townhouse with a female victim: a woman investigators say Vaughan does not know. Police say she was taking a shower, Vaughan got undressed, got in the shower with her, and sexually assaulted her.
“It’s certainly a violation,” Ruetman said. “And the fact that he was out there allegedly looking to rape somebody – I mean I have a sister – and so I find that very concerning.”
Vaughan was arraigned in court on Thursday. He is pleading not guilty to eleven charges, including one count of unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree and one count of attempted rape in the first degree. He is set to be back in court next week.