Two NMSU Students Charged with Dorm Room Rapes

Christopher M. Catanach, 21
Two male New Mexico State University students were in Doña Ana Magistrate Court last week facing separate felony charges of Criminal Sexual Penetration using Force/Coercion, court documents show. Both alleged crimes occurred in the NMSU dorms.

Christopher M. Catanach, 20, whose online resume lists him as a valedictorian graduate of Mayfield High School, is charged with giving vodka to an 18-year-old student then forcing himself upon her in her dorm room bathroom on January 26th.

The victim told NMSU police that she blacked out and remembered waking up naked in the bathroom. She remembered raped and then being alone crying in her dorm room covered by nothing by a towel. Her suitemate then comforted her. The victim sought out counseling and was referred to La Piñon Sexual Assault Services.

The suitemate corroborated the victim’s account of events before and after entering the bathroom.

Catanach told police that he was pretty sure it wasn’t rape because he asked her “Is this okay?” He said she replied, “yes.”

The criminal sexual penetration using force/coercion is a third-degree felony. Providing alcohol to a minor is a fourth-degree felony.

Second, Unrelated NMSU Case

Paul Rene Martinez, 20

The second alleged rape took place two weeks later, on February 11th, at a different dorm. The second victim reported that she met 20-year-old Paul Rene Martinez in the Pan Am Center parking lot and then accompanied him to his dorm room because he said it was too cold outside.

The victim alleged that Martinez came out of the bathroom, undressed himself, and forced himself upon her. She said she told him to “please stop” and to “stop.” When she resisted, she claims Martinez began to choke her.

An NMSU police officer noted red marks on her neck and photographed the marks.

Martinez, a resident of El Paso, told police that the sex was consensual and the victim liked to be choked. He said he broke off the intercourse because he didn’t love her and asked her to leave. Martinez faces a third-degree felony charge of Criminal Sexual Penetration Force/Coercion.

The victim also filed a Las Cruces Police report claiming the defendant vandalized her vehicle after she reported the alleged rape to NMSU.

Mesilla Valley News has requested comment from NMSU, which has not been received by news time.