Man accused of raping CSU student appeared in court Wednesday

Man accused of raping CSU student appeared in court Wednesday

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A man accused of raping a Columbus State University student on May 28 appeared in Recorder's court Wednesday morning.

Larry Kirkland, 50, is charged with rape in an arrest that his attorney Stacey Jackson says should have never happened.

Sergeant Brett Stanelle with CSU investigations testified that video surveillance shows Kirkland walking with the victim to her dorm.

Stanelle says the suspect used the student's security access card to get her inside. Stanelle told the court the victim said she doesn't remember what happened after she took two Irish car-bomb shots while out with friends. Jackson says the evidence and her statements don't match.

"The police have admitted that she made some statements, then looked at the videotaped evidence from the bar and the restaurant that conflicts with her claim of having drinks in the Tap when the video evidence shows that she did not consume any drinks in the tap," Jackson said.

CSU Police Chief Rus Drew says since Kirkland's arrest Monday, more than two dozen people have called to report potential assaults downtown.

Authorities are also continuing to work with Auburn authorities to see if there is a link between Kirkland and Stephen Howard, the AU employee arrested last week on suspicion of selling large quantities of date rape drugs.

CSU officials encourage students to take advantage of on campus resources.

"There is nothing more important than the safety of our students. We are very fortunate to have a very competent police department and extremely sophisticated surveillance system to keep our students safe," explains CSU spokesperson John Lester.

Evidence including DNA, hair and fibers were collected at the scene and sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Crime Lab.

A rape kit was also performed on the victim when she checked herself in to Midtown Medical Center, results for that tests are not back.

Police found prescribed drugs when they searched Kirkland's home and office. He's accused of giving the victim the date rape drug.

Kirkland is the owner of Picasso Pizza and the general manager of The Tap Room.

Kirkland was denied bond for the rape charge and the case has been bound over to Superior Court.

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