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Santa Rosa man pleads guilty to SRJC rape

Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 7:37 a.m.

A Santa Rosa man who had keys to various Santa Rosa Junior College buildings and furnished a locked broom closet with personal items pleaded no contest to raping a fellow dance class student at a campus swim center.

Marco Deanda-Vargas, 30, made the plea bargain with prosecutors Friday as both sides were preparing for his upcoming trial.

He faces up to six years in prison at his March sentencing instead of a maximum of 24 years if he had been convicted on all counts.

In addition to forcible rape, Deanda-Vargas had been charged with sodomy, digital penetration and possession of burglary tools.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss all but the rape count and a misdemeanor possession of stolen property in exchange for his plea.

The case raised awareness of the issue of acquaintance rape and helped focus attention on campus sexual assaults.

The 23-year-old victim testified at a preliminary hearing that she had become friends with Deanda-Vargas through a nighttime dance class they were both taking.

Because he had so many school keys, she thought he was a teaching assistant, she testified.

Campus police officers testified he was not a school employee. He later told them he found the keys, an officer testified.

On March 15, the woman testified, she had coffee with Deanda-Vargas after class.

When she complained of being cold, he produced a key to the Quinn Swim Center and they went inside, she said.

He attacked her when she removed her coat and shoes in a violent act she said lasted two minutes.

"I thought this person was my friend," she testified at the pre-trial hearing. "I trusted him."

The woman didn't tell her boyfriend or police until the next day.

Deanda-Vargas was arrested. He's been in custody ever since.

He maintained the sex was consensual.

Other details emerged about Deanda-Vargas at the preliminary hearing.

He had keys to a Shushaw Hall utility closet, which he outfitted with artificial turf, a pillow, reading material and personal lubricant, an officer testified.

His victim testified that he bragged about spying on women in a nearby bathroom but officers don't believe he was able to see anyone.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com

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