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Former UCLA water polo player gets jail time in assault case

Former UCLA water polo player pleads no contest to assault, criminal threats

A star high school water polo player who went on to play at UCLA pleaded no contest Thursday to charges of assault and criminal threats.

Hakop Kaplanyan, 20, of Glendale was accused last year of rape and sexual assault involving three different women. One of the alleged assaults occurred at a UCLA residence hall, according to the indictment.

Kaplanyan pleaded no contest to one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and one count of making a criminal threat. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, five years of probation and 60 days of community labor.

The remaining charges -- which included two counts each of sexual penetration by a foreign object and assault with intent to commit a felony, and one count each of forcible rape, sexual battery, false imprisonment and possession of matter depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct -- were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Additionally, Kaplanyan was ordered to receive a year of sexual-offender counseling but does not have to register as a sex offender, according to Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

The three alleged victims reported being attacked between Oct. 1, 2012, and April 2, 2013.

Kaplanyan was ordered to report to jail in March.

According to Kaplanyan’s attorney, George Mgdesyan, the jail time was not originally included in the prosecution’s offer and came as a “shock to the family.”

Kaplanyan, who is now a student at L.A. Valley College, where he plays water polo, is doing well academically, Mgdesyan said.

“This man’s lost a lot,” Mgdesyan said. “This is a kid who went to college, it’s a dream to go to UCLA, be a water polo player, and before you know it, his dreams are quashed and he’s kicked out of school and can’t play water polo” because of allegations Mgdesyan called “not true” and “suspect, at best.”

Kaplanyan earned multiple honors while playing four years of varsity water polo for Hoover High.

Twitter: @atchek

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