All charges dropped in 2017 York College rape case

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
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All charges have been dropped in the case of a Stewartstown-area man previously accused of raping a York College student in her dorm room in fall 2017.

Attorneys for Nathan Andrew Yankelov, 20, of Hopewell Township, said they always believed in his innocence.

"Nathan Yankelov is as innocent today as he has been since November 18, 2017," attorneys Mike Fenton and Ed Paskey wrote in a press release. "The allegations in this case never squared with the physical and scientific evidence, or the statements of several witnesses."

The defense attorneys' statement goes on to say, "Sometimes, the most difficult decision as a prosecutor can make doesn't involve filing charges; instead, it involves having the wisdom and courage to not proceed with a case.

"Now that all the charges have been dismissed, we hope Nathan and his family can find peace and closure," the attorneys wrote.

Prosecutors submitted a written request on July 10 seeking to have the case dismissed, which Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock granted the next day, court records state.

The prosecution's request states:

"After additional forensic testing and further investigation of witnesses known to the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth can no longer prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The Commonwealth reserves the right to refile as this motion is without prejudice."

The background: Police have said the woman drank four beers on an empty stomach, and that she was raped sometime after most everyone left her room.

She told police that her rapist was sitting on her bed about 3 a.m., started taking off her clothes and raped and choked her to the point where it became difficult for her to speak and breathe, according to court documents.

The student suffered a significant amount of trauma, both internally and externally, police have said, as well as bruises to her neck, breast and thigh areas.

Yankelov had told police the woman was playing with his inner thigh prior to them having sex, which he said he believed was consensual.

Not a student: Yankelov has never been a student at York College, according to Mary Dolheimer, vice president of communications for the college.

She has previously said student dormitories are secure and that the young woman would have been told about resources for rape victims, both on and off campus.

York College works with the the YWCA of York to provide counseling to victims of sexual assault, Dolheimer said.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.