UAH Hockey Player Accused Of Rape Moves Home To Finland, Unlikely To Be Indicted

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A prosecutor with the Madison County District Attorney's Office says a hockey player from UAH who was charged with rape last month has moved home to Finland.

Lasse Uusivirta, 23, is charged with first-degree rape.  UAHuntsville Police arrested him on April 1.  He was booked into the Madison County Jail, but bonded out.

The Madison County District Attorney's office is prosecuting the case.  WHNT News 19 spoke with Assistant District Attorney Jason Scully-Clemmons, who said if Uusivirta returns to the United States, they will pursue further prosecution.  Scully-Clemmons said they did not plan to go overseas and get him.

A female student at UAH reported an alleged sexual assault by a male student while in his room on January 13. The incident was investigated. The female initially declined to pursue criminal prosecution and told campus police she wanted the case referred to the student conduct board.

Campus police crime log records from April 1 indicate an update to the case stating the alleged victim chose to pursue criminal charges against Uusivirta and he was then arrested.

Uusivirta's listing on the UAH athletic website said his hometown is Espoo, Finland. He was a junior at UAH.

More details on our initial report here.
But if Uusivirta faced serious charges, why was he allowed to keep his passport at all?

WHNT News 19 Legal Analyst Harvey Morris weighs in on the typical judicial proceedings, "Normally the passport is taken from you as a condition to be allowed out on bond in federal court.  The state court judge does have that jurisdiction, but most of the time you see it, it's in federal court.  But the judge can place any kind of restriction on the bond that he would prefer.  And if he would like to take up that passport, then he can do so."

So Uusivirta went back to Finland.  The prosecutor says he doesn't plan to pursue charges or extradition.  But could he?

Harvey explains, "We do have an extradition agreement with Finland, the United States. And my understanding is from our research there's been only three people extradited from Finland to the United States."

So it might be possible to reclaim Uusivirta, but it's certainly not a common practice.  Morris notes it's not a cheap one either.

Uusivirta's defense attorney says extradition would not be necessary.

He says his client would willingly return to face charges if indicted.

However, he says the young man has no plans to return to Huntsville otherwise.