It started with a post in late January on the social media app Yik Yak threatening a mass shooting on the University of North Florida Green in front of the Fine Arts Center.
Hours after the investigation began by campus police and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, a 21-year-old student was in custody.
But things got worse for Mateo Alberto Borda Boyanovich after his first arrest for sending a written threat to carry out a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. A UNF student said he was raped, followed by two others, and Borda Boyanovich was arrested on March 18 on three counts of sexual assault,
A Peruvian exchange student, he was taken into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at its Macclenny Detention Center. After pleading not guilty in all four cases, he was taken back to the Duval County Jail where he remains in lieu of $600,000 bond, records show.
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His attorney, Curtis Falgatter, said he hoped to resolve the threat case because he believes prosecutors “know it wasn’t serious” and was a fraternity prank. And because publicity about Borda Boyanovich’s initial arrest on campus threat “prompted” the accusations of sexual violence, Falgatter said he disputes the testimony of the three women.
“I have a number of witness statements to refute what these ladies are saying,” he said. “The first didn’t report this until she was being Baker Acted (institutionalized for mental health issues). … She was the one who said she was going there- down to spend the night with him. I hope the state looks into all of this and decides that these are not just claims and do not warrant the filing of formal charges.”
The Campus Threat
The initial investigation began when several students found messages on Jan. 31 about Yik Yak threatening a mass shooting, according to the sheriff’s office arrest report.
UNF police requested an emergency order through Yik Yak to obtain the posts web address, as well as another through Comcast to do the same, according to the report. UNF Police Chief Frank Mackesy said Yik Yak, like many social media sites, has a link that law enforcement can use if they have a problem.
“In this case, it was a threat to shoot the fraternity/sorority event that was happening on our Green,” Mackesy said. “This meets each company’s criteria for a life safety event and they will release information, in limited circumstances, without a subpoena. This is the first time the UNF has had to go this route.”
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The fraternity rally on the Green was canceled because two dozen university police units and the sheriff’s office worked on the incident, according to the report. Officers met at Borda Boyanovich’s home and the off-campus fraternity house on Staffordshire Drive where he was arrested.
“There was a debate between some fraternity groups that he got caught up in and stupidly sent the text, threatening to do havoc on campus,” Falgatter said. think it was serious. But the literal words scared some people off. He fully cooperated with the police when they came to see him. He thought it would solve the problem, but he was arrested.”
Falgatter said Borda Boyanovich is a senior and well-respected student on the Dean’s List. He was also vice president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Arrest Warrant Sworn Statements Made Public
Regarding the three charges of sexual violence, Falgatter calls them “very dated allegations” made against someone already in custody that a woman referred police to a second complainant.
The arrest warrant affidavits detail the women’s statements regarding the incidents which they claim occurred on August 25, 2020 and two on September 25, 2021.
One was interviewed by the sheriff’s office on Dec. 9, 2020, after being detained at a hospital by UNF police under the state’s Baker Law, according to the warrant. The woman said she had been sexually assaulted but was “afraid to report it”, only doing so after friends encouraged her to do so.
The woman met Borda Boyanovich on a dating app, and he picked her up Aug. 25, 2020, from college, taking her to his fraternity in Arlington, according to the warrant. In her room, he started kissing her. She told him, “No, let me go,” and he also tried to hide his cellphone as she tried to text a friend to come pick her up, the warrant said.
The woman said Borda Boyanovich threw her on her bed and had sex with her as she told him to stop, her statement said. The woman said her clothes were ripped off and she was slapped. She said she also tried to hit him several times to make him stop.
She started screaming and was told to get dressed, then texted a friend to pick her up, according to the affidavit.
The three arrest warrants were issued on March 14 by the same judge. But the first arrest affidavit did not say why Borda Boyanovich was only charged in the case after the other two women filed similar complaints this year.
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The second victim also said she was afraid to come forward, then did so after Borda Boyanovich “was arrested…for an unrelated incident,” apparently the threat, according to this affidavit. She said she met him at a party on Sept. 24, 2021, and he was “very flirtatious and charming,” according to this affidavit.
He invited her to his fraternity party on Staffordshire Drive the following evening, then asked her to drink with him. After those drinks, he handed her a cup and “told her not to forget it and not put it down,” and she drank what was in it, according to the affidavit.
After that, she told investigators “there was a big white period that she doesn’t remember,” the affidavit states. But before that, she said the suspect led her to her room and closed the door. She opened it, but he closed and locked it, she said.
The woman said he tried to take off his shorts as she continued to push him away, then he “shoved her onto the couch and got on top of her”. She told investigators she felt like she was “moving in slow motion” as she tried to leave and was thrown on the bed and sexually assaulted, according to the affidavit.
The next memory she had was of leaving the house, and she doesn’t remember how she got home. She said she believed she was drugged, according to the affidavit.
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The third woman said she was sexually assaulted on the same day of the fraternity party, according to this affidavit. She said she was also afraid to report it at the time. But once the suspect was arrested for threatening, she “decided to come forward,” the affidavit states.
Likewise, she said that she met Borda Boyanovich the day before and was invited to the party the next evening. There he took her to his car where they began to make out, then led her to his bathroom and locked the door, according to this affidavit.
He was tricking her into stripping, she said in the affidavit. She said she kept telling him no and “didn’t want to do anything”. But she was sexually assaulted as she kept saying no to him, then was slapped hard before being assaulted again, her statement said.
Pending the legal process
As these cases progress through the court system, Falgatter said he has appealed the UNF suspension and is working to get his client back to school online or in person.
But UNF officials say they cannot comment on a student investigation or disciplinary action involving them, due to confidentiality laws.
“The university takes allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously,” according to their statement. “It has a comprehensive process to provide complainant support measures, a thorough investigation and due process rights for the accused.”
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