Former student to face felony charges over crimes committed on WU campus

| News Editor

Donnie Koonce, a former Washington University student who went by Rhett during his time at the University, is facing charges for photographing three women under their clothing without their permission.

A document from the office of the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney states that, while Koonce was a student, he took photographs of three women under their clothing and without their consent. The pictures were allegedly taken in Anheuser Busch Hall.

The Washington University Police Department said it arrested Koonce last October and banned him from campus. He is being charged with invasion of privacy in the second degree—a felony.

In a second document, Washington University Police Department officer Rebecca Biermann states that Koonce admitted to the incidents that spanned from his junior year to his senior year at the University.

Lt. Mark Glenn, the acting police chief at WUPD, stated that he was unable to comment in depth about the case, as it involves an ongoing legal matter between Koonce and the St. Louis County Prosecutor. Glenn did, however, confirm that WUPD received a complaint from a member of the University community in October, which prompted an immediate investigation and a subsequent arrest.

“Based on findings of the investigation, WUPD arrested Koonce for invasion of privacy, and he was removed from campus,” Glenn said. “He is no longer a student, and he is not permitted on campus. The University turned the case over to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for consideration of criminal charges.”

Ed Magee, executive assistant and spokesman for Robert P. McCulloch, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, said that it was up to WUPD to ensure that Koonce was taken into custody.

Koonce’s bail was set at $10,000.

Joan E. Strassmann, a professor of biology, directed Koonce alongside other students during a freshman seminar and recalled Koonce being an excellent student.

“Rhett Koonce came to our group in October 2012…We wanted him to continue in our group, but he let us know early the next semester that his classwork was going to take all his time,” Strassmann said. “Rhett [Koonce] was a really nice guy who did great in the lab in the short time he was there.”