Iowa State University graduate student charged in dating app sexual abuse

AMES, Iowa (KCCI) — An Iowa State University graduate student has been charged with sexual abuse after raping two women he apparently met on dating apps in the span of 24 hours, police said.

Jona Shitaleni Paulus, 33, of Ames, was booked into the Story County Jail, where he remains in lieu of $50,000 cash-only bail.

A woman called 911 on April 6 reporting that she had been sexually assaulted at Paulus' apartment at the college-owned University Village complex, according to online court documents. The two met on Tinder and had been talking for a couple of weeks.

A criminal complaint alleges that the victim told Paulus she did not want to have sex.

"I told you no," she said in a recording, according to court documents, to which Paulus replied, "I know, I know."

She was able to escape and call 911. Authorities noted in charging documents that the victim had bruising on her wrists and hands.

According to online court documents, Paulus admitted to a sex act occurring but indicated that it was consensual.

Police said the second assault happened less than 24 hours later at a woman's residence hall on Iowa State University's campus. Paulus met the woman on MeetMe, according to a search warrant application.

The victim repeatedly told Paulus to stop touching her, but he sexually assaulted her, too, police said.

The victim told police that Paulus took explicit photos of their encounter. She said the defendant appeared to have numerous photos and videos that were sexual in nature on his cellphone, and that it appeared the woman in the images did not know she was being recorded.

"We've gotten a lot of campus reports of sexual assault, so that's a really scary situation to be in," Iowa State sophomore Taylor Butler said.

Tinder's website offers the following safety tips: Protect your personal information. Be web wise. Report all suspicious behavior. Always meet and stay in public. Tell your friends and family members of your plans.

Paulus, originally from Africa, is a graduate student at Iowa State University, according to the school's website. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 29 at the Story County Courthouse in Nevada.