UCLA Students React to Arrest of Top Athlete for Alleged Rape

An 18-year-old freshman water polo player at UCLA was arrested in connection with a sex assault

By Angie Crouch and Julie Brayton
|  Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013  |  Updated 9:19 PM PDT
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An 18-year-old freshman water polo player at UCLA was arrested last Tuesday when another student said he raped her. Hakop Kaplanyan denies the allegations, and his attorney says he will be appealing his suspension. Tuesday, student activists were on campus passing out flyers and t-shirts to educate others about sexual violence. Angie Crouch reports from Westwood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 9, 2013.

Angie Crouch

An 18-year-old freshman water polo player at UCLA was arrested last Tuesday when another student said he raped her. Hakop Kaplanyan denies the allegations, and his attorney says he will be appealing his suspension. Tuesday, student activists were on campus passing out flyers and t-shirts to educate others about sexual violence. Angie Crouch reports from Westwood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 9, 2013.

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The campus of UCLA has been rocked by allegations of a student rape, and students are still figuring

Hakop Kaplanyan, a star player with the university's top-rated water polo team, has been accused of attacking a fellow student and was suspended from campus.

The 18-year-old freshman from Glendale was arrested April 2, the same day a female acquaintance filed a report with UCLA police alleging that she was raped by Kaplanyan in a student residence hall.

The University of California, Los Angeles' athletic department released a statement Monday Kaplanyan had been arrested without incident.

On Tuesday, his lawyer wrote on Facebook that Kaplanyan is appealing his suspension.

"Mr. Kaplanyan and his family are devastated and shocked by the recent developments," attorney Berc Agopoglu said in the statement. "Mr. Kaplanyan is completely innocent. Mr. Kaplanyan does have his legal rights and at this point he is reserving them for future purposes. We believe this matter will be resolved once the investigation is completed within its due course."

Agopoglu said Kaplanyan and his family would have no comment.

"Needless to say, Mr. Kaplanyan and his family are devastated and shocked by the recent developments. They kindly request their privacy be respected and would like this matter be resolved fairly and expeditiously," the attorney wrote.

As reports of the arrest swirled around campus Tuesday, student activists handed out fliers and T-shirts educating young people about sexual violence.

"People don't want to talk about it," said Taysa Bowers with the Clothesline Project. "They'd rather believe it doesn't happen on our campus."

UCLA offers counseling services for rape victims, and through the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center, offers the option of getting medical attention without filing an official police report.

"Get whatever you need, whether it be checking for STDs or pregnancy or getting the appropriate medical attention that you need, and you can preserve evidence and still not report. You can make that decision later on," Bowers said.

UCLA also provides important lessons on sex and dating during orientation for new students.

"We watched a skit, basically about what is consent in date rape," freshman Lindsey Hoffman recalled. "What is consensual sex and what is not. It was really informative for me because I hadn't heard anything about that beforehand."

Meanwhile, Kaplanyan is due in court April 25, according to inmate records from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He has been released on bail, the university said.

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