Monroe man found guilty in game-day sexual assault

MADISON (WKOW) -- A jury found a Monroe man guilty Thursday of the sexual assault of an intoxicated victim, stemming from an incident at a tailgate-type party just blocks away from the Badger football team's home opener at Camp Randall Stadium at 2016.

Loved ones of Zachary Vannatta sobbed loudly as Dane County Judge William Hanrahan read the guilty verdict.  Jurors had deliberated three hours over two days.

The victim - a 19-year old student at the time - was attending her first game day party.  Trial testimony showed she and other party goers played drinking games, and she became incredibly drunk, with Vannatta helping her as she vomited as a result of the drinking.

Prosecutors convinced jurors as the victim lay on a couch, Vannatta sexually touched her several times.  Vannatta's DNA was found one of the victim's breasts.  The two people met for the first time at the party, with Vannatta's girlfriend also attending.The party host testified she saw Vannatta making advances on the sometimes incoherent victim, and when he refused to stop, took the victim into a party room and locked the door. 

One of the victim's family members tells 27 News the courage of the party host and some other women attending the party in coming to the victim's aid was critical.  He says the bystander response to the victim's crisis is an example for campus communities in Madison, as they urge students to report sexual assaults, and take actions to address them: allowed Vannatta to remain free on a signature bond pending his sentencing.  He faces possible prison time.  

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