The 22-year-old former University of Minnesota student was arrested in December 2015 for allegedly raping two women on two separate weekends in the fall of 2014.
Drill-Mellum was charged with first, second and third-degree criminal sexual conduct in one case, and first and second-degree criminal sexual conduct in another case. He was facing up to 15 years in prison.
On Tuesday, Drill-Mellum was sentenced to six years in prison and registered as a lifetime sex offender after pleading guilty to two of the five felony counts of sexual misconduct he had been charged with.
The two assaults, which occurred on Oct. 31, 2014 and Nov. 8, 2014, were described in detail by the victims to police.
The first victim, an 18-year-old female student, told police she met Drill-Mellum at a fraternity party on Halloween. Drill-Mellum led her into a laundry room at the party where they began to kiss, she said, and when she tried to stop him he didn’t listen.
She tried to stop him while he pushed her against a wall then he tried to force her to perform oral sex. When she turned away and tried to get off her knees, he pushed her to the floor and said “I know you want this” and “You’re so turned on right now” and raped her. She told her roommate what happened the following morning and was treated at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. She did not report the rape to police at the time.
The young woman didn’t initially report her assault to the police. It wasn’t until a year later in 2015, that she found out that Drill-Mellum had raped another woman just a week after in the fall of 2014.
Due to this second assault, Drill-Mellum had been banned from campus by the University of Minnesota until 2019. The first woman who he assaulted spotted Drill-Mellum trespassing on campus and that’s when she called the police to report his trespassing and her assault.
The second victim, a 19-year-old female student, told police Drill-Mellum assaulted her in his own apartment:
[She] said she met “Dan” at the Freund Haus Apartments, where he asked if she’d leave the party and go to his apartment for more alcohol. Once inside, they kissed, he tried to take off her clothes, she told him no and said she wanted to go back to the party.
“When the Defendant persisted, the victim provided the Defendant with oral sex, hoping that it would only take a few minutes and then the Defendant would allow her to return to the party,” the complaint said. She told him she did not want to have intercourse but he ignored her and “told her she would like it,” and left her with abrasions and lacerations.
Although the second victim had filed a police report in 2014, prosecutors initially declined to press charges. Once both women came forward with their stories, Drill-Mellum was charged with five felony counts of sexual misconduct.
Both survivors testified against Drill-Mellum in court, noting that there are other victims out there who have yet to come forward against him. The two women also read powerful impact statements in court to their attacker.
The first survivor’s impact statement, which was obtained by BuzzFeed, is absolutely gut-wrenching. The young woman described not being able to pay for a rape kit because she didn’t want to use her parents’ insurance, for fear they would find out what had happened. She detailed the horrible PTSD and panic attacks she endures every day because of the assault.
“I’m reading a "victim impact letter" right now but Daniel Drill-Vellum did not "impact" my life; he completely uprooted and altered it.”
“I’m reading a ‘victim impact letter’ right now but Daniel Drill-Vellum did not ‘impact’ my life; he completely uprooted and altered it,” she read in court.
The young woman reminded everyone in court ― including Drill-Mellum ― that she is “not just a victim of rape,” unlike Drill-Mellum who is and always will be just a rapist.
There are two of us brave enough to stand in front of him today and face him. Two of us, but there are so many more girls that he violated and assaulted… I will never be defined by him and what he did to me but he will forever be defined by me and the other girls he raped. That will stay with him forever. I am not just a victim of rape. My identity consists of so much more. But Daniel Drill-Mellum will only ever be a rapist. That is where the description of him stops. He put me through two of the hardest years of my life. This process is exhausting, but unlike him I can say that I came out the other end of this a stronger and better person. I am in control now, I write my own story and define my own life. I am capable, I am confident and I define myself.
Her impact statement is in full below.
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The second impact statement is equally as devastating as the first.
In her letter to the court, which was obtained by Fox 9, the second survivor described being assaulted by Drill-Mellum and the horrific aftermath that ensued. She said that she was repeatedly victim-blamed by cops, endured an uncomfortable rape kit and still struggles with the PTSD from the night of the assault.
“I’ll always wish I had fought back stronger, I’ll always replay the whole situation and think about what I could’ve done to stop it, even though I’ve repeatedly been told by some very helpful people that it wasn’t my fault,” the young woman’s letter reads.
She described the rape as “a life sentence” for her. She went on to talk about the moment she realized she was in trouble:
I remember thinking “just close your eyes and you can get out of here soon.” I didn’t even realize I was crying until he asked me if I was; except it wasn’t in a caring tone. The tone was mocking, aggressive, and I defiantly said that I wasn’t and continued sobbing into the pillow. Despite my protests, he raped me anally as well. He told me that he was going to finish inside of me. He stuck his fingers inside of me and then shoved them down my throat, tearing what I think is called a frenulum. I felt like I couldn’t breathe as he forced one arm down on my back and shoved the other hand down my throat as I choked. I thought I was going to die. I kind of hoped I was going to die.
The survivor described coming home from the hospital and feeling like her “body didn’t belong” to her. The physical reminders of the assault are all over her, she said, adding that the Drill-Mellum’s attorneys’ character assassination of her throughout the trial have only magnified her PTSD.
I can’t brush my teeth without seeing the part of my mouth that he ripped apart when he shoved his fingers down my throat. I can’t look down at my chest without noticing an indent that wasn’t there before he repeatedly bit my breasts. I can’t look down at my stomach without remembering the panic I felt looking down at my naked body while I struggled to get away from him, before he raped me a second time. I can’t wear blue underwear because I remember what it looked like as I struggled to pull it on as I ran away from what he had just done to me.
Her full impact statement is below.
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As with so many victim impact statements, the importance of these women’s words cannot be overstated. Their letters are powerful and serve as a voice to every survivor who was never able to come forward and get justice.
As Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman said after the sentencing was announced: “It doesn’t matter where you come from, you don’t rape women period. And when you start doing some real time, on campus the word should spread.”
Let’s hope he’s right.
Head over to Fox 9 to read the full victim impact statement.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.