Former KU student charged with October rape on campus

A former University of Kansas student has been charged with a rape that allegedly occurred while he was still enrolled at the school.

Stephen M. Owens, 18, lived at Downs Hall, 1517 W. 18th St. on the KU campus, when the alleged rape happened, according to court and jail records. He now lives in Illinois, according to jail records. The KU directory no longer lists him as a student.

Owens is charged with one count of rape, a felony, for allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old victim when that person was unconscious or physically powerless on Oct. 6, 2017, according to the complaint filed last week in Douglas County District Court.

The complaint lists an alternative charge for Owens: rape of a person incapable of giving consent because of mental deficiency or disease, or the effect of alcohol or drugs, and the victim’s condition was known or reasonably apparent to the offender.

The complaint does not include the location of the alleged rape; however, KU police investigated the incident, indicating it occurred on campus. More information from KU police was not immediately available Monday.

Owens was booked into jail and was released on $20,000 bond on Thursday, jail and court records show. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in court on the new charges on April 19.

Stephen M. Owens

Owens was first arrested on suspicion of rape in late October, according to jail records.

That was in association with the same case, but the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office did not file charges at that time, Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the DA, said in an email response to the Journal-World. At that time, she said, the DA’s office was waiting on additional investigation to be completed.

Earlier this year, Owens was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and purchasing or consuming alcohol by a minor, both misdemeanors, for crimes that allegedly occurred on the same day as the alleged rape, Oct. 6, 2017, according to court documents.

This case is separate from another October 2017 incident at Downs Hall, in which two then-KU students were jailed Oct. 21 after a female student reported that two acquaintances raped her in her room at different times earlier that morning. The DA decided not to file charges against those men.

Downs Hall, opened in fall 2017 in KU’s newly redeveloped Central District, is the university’s newest residence hall and features suite-style living. According to KU Student Housing, while most KU residence halls have separate men’s and women’s wings, Downs Hall does not.