British Columbia

B.C. diver charged in connection with University of Utah dorm room rape

A University of Utah diver has been arrested and charged with raping a young woman in her dorm room during the first week of the school year last fall.

American prosecutors have charged Ben Smyth, a diver in his 2nd year at the University of Utah

A huge football stadium stands in front of a small city with mountains in the background.
Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah seen in 2020. A Canadian athlete with the school's diving team has been charged with multiple sex crimes. (Bing Guan/Reuters)

WARNING: This story contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

A University of Utah diver from British Columbia has been arrested and charged with allegedly raping a young woman in her dorm room during the first week of the school year last fall.

Prosecutors have charged Ben Smyth, a diver in his second year at Utah, with sodomy, sexual abuse and rape.

In an indictment filed this week, detectives said Smyth went to a woman's dorm room after confirming she was alone last August. He asked her to play "truth or dare" and then allegedly raped her while she resisted physically, said she "did not want to do that," shook her head no and told him she was in pain.

When detectives interviewed him, he initially denied knowing the woman but later acknowledged having sex with her and that she was in pain.

The indictment, which does not name the woman, also said that when detectives went to serve Smyth with a protective order to keep him away from the woman, a roommate said he had moved out. A private investigator later told detectives that Smyth had returned to Canada upon learning he was under investigation for rape.

The indictment listed Smyth's address as being in Saanichton, a small community north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

In court documents, detectives also wrote that Smyth's friends described him as bragging "about the number of women he has sex with," which he compiled into a list to show others.

The University of Utah athletic department said in a statement that Smyth was suspended from the men's swimming and diving team when the school was made aware of the allegations in February, before the Pac-12 Championships. Smyth did not compete this year but, as a freshman, took second in platform diving.

"We were made aware of a serious allegation involving a member of our men's swimming and diving program. Upon being notified by the University's Office of Equal Opportunity of a pending investigation, Ben Smyth was immediately suspended," the department said.

Smyth returns to U.S.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said earlier this week, after a warrant for Smyth's arrest was issued, that his office was pursuing any means to return him to Utah. His office said Friday that Smyth had returned to the U.S. and is in custody in Seattle.

The diver's arrest is at least the second time Pac-12 swimming and diving has confronted rape allegations in recent years. In 2016, Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner was found guilty of raping a woman after two graduate students caught him on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus.

Smyth's attorney, Scott Wilding, declined to comment on the charges.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

With files from CBC News