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Water polo player maintains innocence of alleged rape, plans to appeal suspension from school

By Erin Donnelly

April 15, 2013 12:08 a.m.

A UCLA water polo player, who was arrested on suspicion of rape earlier this month and later suspended from the university, told local news stations on Thursday that he was innocent and wants to return to school.

Hakop Kaplanyan, a  freshman who did not play this year, was arrested early in the morning on April 3, after a female student filed a police report the night before, said university police spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein. He was later released on a $200,000 bail.

“I understand I have been accused of these charges but I am totally innocent,” Kaplanyan told NBC 4 and CBS News on Thursday. “I hope everyone in the community has an open mind to this until the investigation is over, and I just really want to go back to school and back to water polo, back to practice with my friends.”

Kaplanyan, an 18-year-old Glendale native, was suspended from the university on April 3, according to NBC 4. But he has a hearing scheduled with Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students, for the morning of April 26 and plans to appeal the suspension, according to a statement released on Facebook last week by Kaplanyan’s attorney, Berc Agopoglu.

Agopoglu said in his statement that he did not believe that UCPD or the university spent enough time investigating the female student’s claims before arresting and suspending the athlete.

The UCPD investigation is ongoing and police are still compiling their report to give the district attorney, Greenstein said in an email. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has not yet filed charges against Kaplanyan, officials said.

Kaplanyan is set to appear in court on April 25, police said.

Compiled by Erin Donnelly, Bruin senior staff.

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