WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) —A UCLA freshman water polo player accused of raping a female student in a dorm room last week proclaimed his innocence Thursday.
“I would just like to mention that I understand the charges that I’m accused of. I’d like to mention that I’m innocent, and I hope everybody in the community has an open mind about everything. I hope they keep an open mind until this investigation is over,” said Hakop Jack Kaplanyan.
The 18-year-old was arrested April 2 after the alleged victim reported the incident to campus police.
Kaplanyan was booked into the Los Angeles County Jail and was later released on $200,000 bail.
The suspect’s attorney, Berc Agopoglu, said his client and the unidentified woman, a senior who Kaplanyan had reportedly been seeing since February, had just returned from a date on the night of the alleged attack.
“It was consensual sex and let’s leave it at that. He’s innocent of these charges,” he said. “People with personality disorders, people who want to be famous, they make wrongful accusations.”
University officials said the suspect has been temporarily suspended.
A UCLA spokesperson said they would not comment on ongoing student matters, but directed KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii to the conduct code that said a student will be placed on interim suspension when it’s believed that: “The student’s participation will lead to physical abuse, threats of violence, or conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person on university property.”
Kaplanyan plans to appeal the suspension.
“I would love to go back to school, back to my old ways practicing water polo, being with my friends. I miss my coaches, I miss my teammates,” he said.
The suspect, a graduate of Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, was redshirted during the 2012 season.
Last fall, he was among hundreds of UCLA athletes named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
Kaplanyan is due in court April 25.