Former UI student convicted of sex assault after being ID'd on Facebook, moves to appeal

Pfeifer faces up to 10 years in prison

Vanessa Miller
Published: March 20 2013 | 6:00 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 12:59 pm in

A former University of Iowa student convicted in a 2010 sexual assault near the Pentacrest after his victim identified him on Facebook has filed a notice of his plan to appeal the verdict.

Evan Michael Pfeifer, 20, of Lake Barrington, Ill., was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 30 of third-degree sexual abuse in connection with an attack on the UI campus on Oct. 3, 2010. He was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, although he could be released sooner.

Once he’s out, Pfeifer will be on parole for the rest of his life. If he violates the conditions of his parole, Pfiefer could be sent back to prison for life. He also must register as a sex offender.

Pfefer’s attorney, on his behalf, filed a motion for a new trial and acquittal a month after his conviction. A judge denied that request.

Defense attorney Leon Spies, on behalf of Pfeifer, filed a notice last week that his client plans to appeal the conviction.

At the time of his sentencing, Pfeifer told the court that “It’s been a rough time for me and everyone else here … I hope justice will finally be served.” His attorney at the time, Mark Brown, submitted six reference letters to the court to show the “many successes in (Pfeifer’s) life.”

Neither the victim nor her family and friends were at the sentencing hearing.

Pfeifer currently is being held in the Iowa Medical & Classification Center in Coralville.

According to trial information and testimony, Pfeifer’s victim – who was 19 at the time of the attack – was walking home from a party with friends about 2 a.m. Oct. 3, 2010. She testified that she was lagging behind her companions as they wove through campus, and a man – later identified as Pfeifer – approached her near the Pentacrest and started a conversation.

According to her testimony, Pfeifer led her to a tree and guided her to the ground, where he held her down, pinned her hands and arms under his knees and placed a hand over her mouth. She said she struggled to free herself and told him to stop before she gave up fighting.

A witness testified that he saw two people having sex on the Pentacrest in the early morning hours that day, and he was suspicious. After the victim separated from her attacker, the witness said he approached her and found her sobbing.

He asked if she had been raped, and she nodded yes, according to testimony.

But the woman didn’t immediately call police, although she went to the hospital and was examined. A week after the attack, she recognized Pfeifer on campus and had her sister follow him and strike up a conversation. The sister got his name, and they looked him up on Facebook, according to testimony.

After finding him on the social network, the victim reported the assault to police.

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