Student pleads not guilty to rape


A South Dakota State student pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a sexual assault charge stating that he raped a fellow student who was too intoxicated to give consent.

Zachary Blum, 19, from Olivia, Minnesota, was charged with one count of third-degree rape, which constitutes sexual penetration.

The charge is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

A woman reported to university police on Aug. 25 that she was sexually assaulted by a man, who she later identified as Blum. A campus crime alert was emailed to students the same day and was the first reported sexual assault of the school year.

According to an SDSU Police Department report, the woman said she was sexually assaulted in the Young Residence Hall showers by a man she could identify. The report said dorm mates found her in the shower.

The UPD report said the woman was drinking with her friends beforehand and she met Blum for the first time while walking near campus that night.

Both the woman and Blum confirmed that she was puking and visibly drunk, the report said. Blum, who had not been drinking or taking drugs, walked her back to the dorm and encouraged her to take a shower, according to the report.

The woman told police she didn’t remember having sex with Blum or consenting to sex. Blum told police that she initiated the sexual contact.

According to the report, Blum admitted in a text conversation with the woman and in a phone call that they had sex, apologized and offered to buy a Plan B pill. Police located Blum at Walmart with a bag containing the pill.

Blum was released from jail after posting a $5,000 cash bond Tuesday.

He had been held without bond for allegedly violating terms of a two-year probation for a grand theft conviction for stealing letters from the Bankstar sign in Brookings in September of 2016.

The bond was reduced to $5,000 cash only on both charges.

A preliminary hearing for the sexual assault has been set for Sept. 11. An evidentiary hearing for the probation violation has been set for Sept. 26.