A former UCLA water polo player who was accused of attacking three women over a seven-month period pleaded no contest Thursday to single counts of assault and making criminal threats and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and five years probation.
Hakop Jack Kaplanyan, 20, was also ordered to undergo one year of sexual-assault counseling and perform 60 days of Caltrans work.
All of the original charges against him — including charges of forcible rape, false imprisonment, sexual battery by restraint and possession of matter depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct — were dismissed as a result of the plea agreement.
The judge also also issued a protective order that requires Kaplanyan to stay away from the three women, although the charges to which Kaplanyan pleaded involved only one of them.
Kaplanyan was arrested in April 2013, after a female student filed a report with campus police saying he had raped her in a campus residence hall.
An attorney representing Kaplanyan, then a freshman polo player, claimed at the time that his client had consensual sex with the woman. He was eventually released on bail and suspended from the university. He was arrested again and indicted in early 2014.
Deputy District Attorney Linda Loftfield told the judge that the prosecution had no forensic evidence and no independent corroboration of the accounts of the women, who do not know each other.
“For a jury to convict, I don’t think it’s impossible,” the prosecutor said, while noting that the plea agreement was “not entered into lightly” and would allow the women to put the case behind them and have closure.
The judge said he was amenable to the plea agreement as long as the six- month jail term was added.
Lomeli told the defendant — who is now enrolled in another college — that he wants him to understand that “no means no” while adding, “I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case.”
Outside court, one of Kaplanyan’s attorneys, George Mgdesyan, said his client has maintained his innocence. But he said his client decided to enter the plea because of the risks of going to trial, which could have resulted in a potentially much harsher sentence if he was convicted of the charges that wound up being dismissed.
Kaplanyan is set to surrender March 10 to begin serving his jail term.
— City News Service
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