She’d been with Nicholas Alahverdian for about an hour — the time it took for an introductory lunch and to accept his invitation to escort her to her next college class — before he sexually attacked her.
They had entered a basement stairwell at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, when Alahverdian “pinned me against a wall,” she said. He began groping her and masturbating.
“I’m telling him to get off me and he says, ‘I’m almost done. Don’t be a bitch.’” He ejaculated on a wall.
It was a January day in 2008.
She walked into her IT class, stunned. Afterward, there was Alahverdian, waiting in the stairwell. “He apologized to me. He said he couldn’t help it — I was just so beautiful — and not to tell anybody.”
She went to the police.
The woman, now 33, spoke to The Journal in recent days after learning Alahverdian, 34, had been an international fugitive who went to elaborate lengths to fake his death in Rhode Island in 2020: imploring reporters to write about his impending demise from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, using a woman who said she was his wife to press politicians to make public tributes to him.
Alahverdian knew the FBI in Ohio wanted him on charges he fraudulently obtained credit cards in his foster father's name, amassing $200,000 in debts. He owed an ex-wife, married to him for only months, $60,000. And authorities say Alahverdian likely knew he was a suspect in a 2008 rape in Orem, Utah.
Six things to know about Nicholas Alahverdian, the Rhode Island man who apparently faked his death
The Ohio woman says her brief encounter with Alahverdian at Sinclair Community College led to an almost six-year ordeal as Alahverdian fought the sex charges against him.
But it would also provide the DNA evidence, authorities say, that eventually linked Alahverdian to the Utah rape and the probable cause used to arrest him last month in a Scottish hospital, where he was on a ventilator suffering from COVID-19.
Ohio sex assault case
The Ohio woman (The Journal is not using her name) said she sometimes wondered if she was doing the right thing after first pressing charges against Alahverdian. She realized he would have to register as a sex offender and that would stay with him.
“But I thought, ‘What if he attacked someone else?' That was going to be on me forever.”
Alahverdian didn’t make it easy for her after he was convicted of “sexual imposition” and public indecency for the college assault. (Alahverdian showed up at his sentencing pretending to need a cane and walking “with a fake limp,” the woman said. “It was so over the top, but I wasn’t surprised by then. He will go to any lengths to emotionally manipulate people.”)
First, he tried to discredit and harass her online, she said, posting lies and pictures of her and her child, listing her address and phone number.
Then, when he appealed his conviction, he attempted to introduce what turned out to be a doctored MySpace blog post. He contended it proved the woman had lied about the attack. The judge who threw out the appeal bid declared Alahverdian’s so-called new evidence “highly questionable [and] not credible.”
Alahverdian later sued her for libel, alleging her online characterizations of him as “crazy” had damaged his future and caused him emotional distress.
“He said I had ruined his reputation, that he was trying to go to Harvard and be a law student and I had ruined his future and caused him mental anguish.”
'A dangerous mind': News of Nick Alahverdian's fake death shocks those who took him in
In 2014 a court found no merit in Alahverdian’s libel claim, ruling that the woman’s online remarks did not rise to the level of libel, and were not “outrageous,” “extreme” or “utterly intolerable,” as Alahverdian claimed.
Until last week, the woman said, “I had gone years without thinking of him.”
Utah rape charge against Alahverdian
Then an FBI agent called. He explained how Alahverdian was now facing a rape charge in Utah. The agent sent her a Journal story of his capture and asked if she would travel to Utah later this month to help establish evidence against him in the case.
“I said, ‘Of course.'”
The Utah County Attorney's office last week released a court document that said an investigator had located police reports in four states regarding Alahverdian “involving criminal cases of sex assault, harassment, and possible kidnapping from 2007 through 2019.”
County Attorney David Leavitt said Alahverdian had established a pattern of behavior of first reaching out to women online, as he did in the Sinclair Community College case.
Leavitt said that DNA collected in the 2008 Orem rape case wasn’t tested until 2017 as part of a state effort to enter a backlog of rape-kit evidence into a national database. When the information was analyzed a year later, it matched DNA collected in the Sinclair Community College case and identified Alahverdian.
Utah court documentsdetail rape charge against Nicholas Alahverdian
Leavitt told The Journal that Utah investigators didn’t file a warrant for his arrest until seven months after Alahverdian’s announced death in February 2020.
“We were aware of the assertion of death,” he said. “We never bought it.”
Leavitt said authorities sealed the case, believing Alahverdian not only alive but computer-savvy enough to find the warrant in a public court database.
The concern was “the moment you make something public, he goes deeper underground.”
The day after the Ohio woman learned of Alahverdian’s capture, she found herself reading stories about him over the last year:
◘ The allegations he swapped out a picture of himself on Wikipedia with a Photoshopped image of someone else
◘ The long diatribes by someone claiming to be his widow refuting insinuations that Alahverdian was alive.
◘ His obituary, which reported that his last words were “fear not and run toward the bliss of the sun” as “the room was filled with the sound of the end credits for the 1997 film Contact by composer Alan Silvestri.”
◘ All of it was so disconnected and out of touch with reality,” she said. “I knew he wrote it.”
Email Tom Mooney at: email@example.com
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Ohio woman sexually assaulted by Nicholas Alahverdian comes forward