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U.Va. abduction suspect accused of sex assaults at 2 schools

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The man charged with abducting a missing University of Virginia student was accused of sexual assaults at two colleges more than a decade ago, but did not face charges in either case.

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Hannah Graham CBS affiliate WCAV

The allegations came to light after Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was arrested last week and charged with abduction with intent to defile 18-year-old Hannah Graham, who disappeared about three weeks ago after a night out with friends. Matthew has now been linked by authorities to Graham, the disappearance and death of another University of Virginia student and three sexual assault allegations.

Graham, a sophomore, vanished after attending two off-campus house parties and sending a text to a friend that she was lost. Police say they believe she was with Matthew on Charlottesville's downtown pedestrian mall, and may have been in his car when he left.

In 2003, while Matthew was a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, he was accused of sexual assault and left the school about a month later. School officials did not explain why he left or was never charged.

"Students don't usually leave in the second month of the semester or leave the football team within a month," school spokeswoman Lori Jacobs said in a statement. "However, federal student record privacy laws (FERPA) limit the information we can provide."

One year earlier, while a student at Liberty University, he was accused of raping a student on campus, but the matter was dropped when the student did not want to move forward with the prosecution.

CBS News reported the Liberty University allegation Sept. 26.

"There were a few rumors that the sex was aggressive," football teammate William Haith told CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews last month. "There were several different rumors that were not verified at all."

Haith said that Matthew was dismissed from the school, a Christian university with a strict code of conduct.

"He broke a rule at Liberty University , which was engaging in sex," Haith said.

Virginia State Police have said a "forensic link" connects Matthew to the case of University of Virginia student Morgan Harrington, whose body was found in a hayfield three months after she vanished on Oct. 17, 2009. That case, in turn, has been linked by DNA evidence to the rape of a woman in Fairfax, Virginia, the FBI has said.

Several jurisdictions in Virginia are investigating to see whether Matthew could be linked to other unsolved murders and disappearances in the state, including the 2009 murder of Cassandra Morton. Morton vanished near Lynchburg a week before Harrington and her body was found on a mountainside near Liberty University.

Matthew's attorney, James Camblos, said police have not shared any evidence with him.

A bond review that had been set for Thursday for Matthew was canceled after his attorney said he will not ask for his client to be released on bond, reports WTVR.

He is due in court for a preliminary hearing on the abduction charge in the Hannah Graham case Dec. 4.

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