Booking photo for Ismael “Izzy” Kalani Vaifo’ou (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)
LOGAN — A 22-year-old Utah State football player charged with allegedly entering several on-campus dorm rooms and raping a female student has been released from jail on pretrial supervision. Ismael “Izzy” Kalani Vaifo’ou was granted release while the case against him proceeds through the court system.
Vaifo’ou participated in a virtual detention hearing in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by web conference from jail. He was previously charged with rape, a first-degree felony; three counts of forcible sex abuse and one count of burglary, all second-degree felonies; and three misdemeanors.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray requested Vaifo’ou be kept behind bars. He explained how the defendant allegedly raped a resident at the Living Learning Center dorms on campus, early on the morning of April 18.
The woman told USU police officers she woke up and allegedly found Vaifo’ou “laying in her bed next to her in only his underwear.” He reportedly molested and raped her until she pushed him and told him to get out.
A second woman also claimed she was woken up by the sounds of doors opening and closing. Vaifo’ou then allegedly entered her room and started walking toward her bed, before she told him to leave.
Defense attorney Cara Tangaro explained she had watched security camera footage from the night of the alleged incident. She claimed Vaifo’ou reportedly consumed a lot of alcohol earlier and his actions were out of character. “This is not who he is,” she said.
Tangaro also disputed whether the alleged victim was actually raped, claiming her statements to officers seemed to be very confusing. She asked the court to consider some way her client could complete his college finals.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said she would allow Vaifo’ou to be released to return home to Salt Lake City, but ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim. She also prohibited him from leaving his home without another adult and wear a GPS equipped ankle monitor.
Vaifo’ou has been reportedly suspended from the football team and all team activities. He has also been trespassed from the school, prohibiting him from being allowed on campus without campus police escorts.
Judge Fonnesbeck warned Vaifo’ou that she would place him back in jail if there was a single problem during his release.
Vaifo’ou didn’t speak during Monday’s hearing. He was ordered to appear again in court June 1 and could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.