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Commonwealth's Attorney: Jesse Matthew was suspect in 2002 campus rape investigation while at Liberty University

Jesse Matthew appears in a Texas court via video hookup. (Photo: WJLA/Suzanne Kennedy)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WJLA) - Jesse Leroy Matthew, the man charged with the abduction of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, was the suspect in a 2002 campus rape investigation while attending Liberty University, the Commonwealth's Attorney for Lynchburg told ABC7 News on Thursday.

However, no charges were ever filed against Matthew. The woman in the case told authorities she had not consented to sex, but ultimately did not pursue the case.

In a statement issued in response to questions about Matthew, the university on Thursday said he was as a student there from 2000 to 2002 and played on the school's football team.

The university statement also referenced a campus crime report log reflecting an alleged rape that occurred October, 17, 2002 about 4:30 a.m. at the Vines Center on campus, but it not did specifically indicate whether Matthew was connected to the incident.

Liberty said the case was investigated by the Lynchburg Police Department and the results of that investigation were turned over to the local Commonwealth Attorney's Office

Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Douchette told ABC7 News that the suspect in the 2002 incident bore the same name and went by the same initials as kidnap suspect Jesse Matthew.

"Based on information released by Liberty University today, I am confident it is the same guy," Douchette said.

A published report by the Daily Mail Online quoted former Liberty football teammates as saying Matthew was expelled from the university following the alleged sex attack on a female student.

Matthew was arrested on a beach in the Texas community of Gilchrist by Galveston County Sheriff's deputies on Wednesday night and is expected to be extradicted back to Virginia within days to face the abduction charge in connection with Graham's disappearance.

As police continue their aggressive search for Graham, who is still missing, details about Matthew's background have emerged. According to the Virginia Online Courts Database, he has faced a variety of charges including trespassing and assault over the last several years, as well as being cited for a variety of traffic violations.

Police in Charlottesville have said they are looking into "historical allegations" involving Matthew as part of their investigation into Graham's disappearance.

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