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URBANA — A Champaign man whom University of Illinois police identified as a UI student is being held at the Champaign County Jail on $500,000 bond following his arrest on multiple charges of sexual assault, theft and animal torture involving the assault victim's poodle.

Jiaen Zhang, 21, who listed an address in the 300 block of East Green Street, was charged Thursday with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, six counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of unlawful use of a credit card, one count of theft, one count of animal torture and one count of aggravated cruel treatment of an animal.

Zhang is due back in court Oct. 28.

According to a University of Illinois police report, the female victim was held in Zhang’s dorm room in Sherman Hall overnight on May 6, 2015, because it was "dangerous" outside. The next morning the woman couldn’t find her phone and asked Zhang what time it was.

According to the report, he said she had to guess the time and be cautious about her answer because there would be serious consequences if she was wrong. When the woman guessed the time and Zhang said it was wrong, he made her take off her underwear and allegedly sexually assaulted her. The woman reported experiencing pain for three days after the incident.

The police report described other alleged crimes by Zhang:

— In March 2015, while the two of them were studying in his dorm room, Zhang allegedly told the woman to remove her underwear and close her eyes. Following this sexual assault, Zhang allegedly sexually assaulted her five to 10 times over the next several months without her consent.

— This spring Zhang allegedly would not allow the woman to leave his dorm room to take an exam unless she had oral sex with him.

— On May 10, Zhang told the victim he would only give her 10 minutes to finish her final exam, but he would extend it to 20 minutes if she underwent a sexual assault. The woman said "she was in fear of far worse punishment and physical abuse if she didn’t comply with his demands."

— On May 13, Zhang forced the woman to run up and down the stairs of an apartment building. When she was unable to complete the task within a given time, he allegedly sexually assaulted her again.

— In February 2015, Zhang convinced the woman to let him hold her debit card for safekeeping. Two months later, the woman discovered Zhang allegedly used $3,000 of her money without permission.

— In September 2015, the woman’s parents gave her $27,500 to use for rent and living expenses. Zhang allegedly forced the woman to transfer $12,500 into his account.

— On May 10, after the woman purchased a poodle, Zhang alledgedly took the dog into the woman’s room, wrapped the dog in a blanket and began pressing on it repeatedly, trying to suffocate it.

Then Zhang allegedly locked the woman out of the room so she could hear the dog "screaming a really painful miserable scream." The woman said she didn’t have the courage to knock on the door because Zhang demanded she not do anything. After the woman left the apartment to take an exam, Zhang called her and told her the dog was dead.

Zhang made the woman purchase shovels, and they buried the dog in Kickapoo State Park.


Tim Mitchell is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is tmitchel@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@mitchell6).

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