Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Arrest of Comedian in Rapes `Sickly Ironic,' Victim Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Arrest of Comedian in Rapes `Sickly Ironic,' Victim Says

Article excerpt

On stage, comic Vinson Horace Champ was raunchy and not ready for prime time. Mostly, he earned a meager living on the college circuit.

It was during these campus stops across the Midwest that police suspect he raped or tried to rape young women in computer labs and music rooms.

Champ, 35, has been charged in two of those rapes, and investigators are trying to match up his bookings with the rest of the attacks. The victim in one of the cases in which Champ was charged, a business teacher, 30, said it was "sickly ironic" that a comedian had been arrested. "A comedian is supposed to be funny and make people laugh, and this wasn't funny," said the teacher, who was raped at a computer lab March 5 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Earlier that day, Champ performed at a small college four hours away. The attacks across the Midwest took place in February and March in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin and were carried out by a man in a ski mask who sometimes spit on his victims, questioned them about their sex lives and asked them to pray for him. In Iowa, authorities issued an arrest warrant Thursday charging Champ with kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery in a February attack at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. Champ came under suspicion after he was arrested last week and charged with trying to rape a student at Pasadena City College in California as she was playing a piano. He was released on bail. Police found a personal calendar in Champ's Hollywood apartment with a list of college performances, setting off a flurry of inquiries from authorities in the Midwest. Police in Omaha then filed charges against Champ in the March 5 rape. Champ was arrested Tuesday at the airport in Newark, N.J., as he got off a flight from Bermuda, where he had been on a cruise. He declared himself "101 percent innocent." On Thursday, Champ agreed at a hearing to be taken back to Nebraska. "Obviously, he's bewildered somewhat by what's happened to him," said his attorney, Kevin McLaughlin. …

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