Evidence clears DU student of assault

Photo Courtesy of Allegheny County Rex Coughenour has been cleared of all charges.
Photo Courtesy of Allegheny County
Rex Coughenour has been cleared of all charges.

By Kaye Burnet | News Editor

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office has dropped all charges against a Duquesne graduate student arrested in September for sexual assault after video surfaced that showed the student was somewhere else at the time of the attack, according to the office’s spokesman.

Police arrested Rex Coughenour, 61, on Sept. 15 and accused him of attacking a pregnant woman. He was initially scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 29. The hearing was postponed to Oct. 14, according to court records, but was cancelled when the district attorney received new evidence, clearing Coughenour of the crime.

“Prior to the start of the recent preliminary hearing involving Coughenour, our office was presented with video evidence that placed him elsewhere when the assault took place,” said Mike Manko, spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. “As a result of that new evidence, our office withdrew all the charges.”

Duquesne suspended Coughenour following his arrest, but revoked the suspension this week, according to Duquesne spokeswoman Rose Ravasio. Ravasio said representatives from the business school will reach out to him to discuss his future academic plans.

Before his arrest, Coughenour was pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration and an Information Systems Management degree in the A.J. Palumbo School of Business, according to Casey Foote, an enrollment and retention assistant in the business school.

The alleged attack occurred near the intersection of P.J. McArdle Roadway and the Liberty Bridge. The victim told police a man attacked her, tried to remove her clothes and stole her money. Later, police found Coughenour walking near the 10th Street Bridge. Coughenour matched the victim’s description, and the woman identified him as her attacker.