Summer School Student Reports Assault Attempt

* Former BU student pleads not guilty to charges

A 30-year-old Newton resident has been charged with attempting to rape a Harvard summer school student, the Suffolk Country District Attorney's office said yesterday.

The defendant, Christopher A. Wodja, pled not guilty last Friday to charges of kidnapping, attempted rape, assault and battery on a person on a person over 14 and use of a motor vehicle without authority.

The incident occurred around the Boston College MBTA stop, an area which police spokesperson Officer Peter North described as not particularly dangerous.

"It's just a very transient area, with students and people coming and going," Norton said. "It doesn't have a history of such activity."

Prosecutors said the summer school student--a sixteen-year old native of Puerto Rico--missed the last train from the Boston College train stop back to Harvard Square last Thursday. When she walked to the street and tried to hail a cab at around 12:30 a.m., Wodja offered her a ride back to Harvard.

But after she got in the car, prosecutors said, Wodja began to grab her hands and breasts.

The student demanded that he pull over, and when Wodja stopped the car in a parking lot on Nonathum Road, the summer school student fled from the vehicle.

"She was able to escape the car but the suspect also exited the car," said David Felcone, a spokesperson for the district attorney's office in Suffolk Country. "He pulled her approximately 50 feet to a wooded area near the river's edge."

Felcone said Wodja pushed the student to the ground, covered her mouth and continued to assault her.

"The whole time the victim was punching and kicking, trying to escape," Felcone said.

Felcone said Wodja walked away from the victim briefly, and the victim got up and tried to escape through the woods.

"Apparently she fell down on a steep said.

Wodja allegedly became afraid that the student's screams would attract suspicion, so he sped away from the scene, Felcone said.

An off-duty firefighter heard the screams and wrote down the license plate number of the car Wodja was driving, a blue two-door Honda Acura.

Using the car information, police traced Wodja to his apartment in Newton.

Police investigators later discovered Wodja did not own the car and had been using it without permission.

"The vehicle actually belonged to another man who lived at that address who never gave the defendant permission to use that vehicle," Felcone said.

Wodja was identified by the victim, and is being held in lieu of $25,000 cash bail. He is set to appear in court on August 13, for a probable cause hearing.

Court documents identified Wodja as an orthodontics student at Boston University, but Boston University spokesperson Colin Riley said Wodja was no longer a student there.

Summer school officials did not return calls for comment

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