Former undergraduate student government officer Omar Arce pleaded no contest to seven counts of sexual battery, one count of false imprisonment and four counts of battery at a court appearance Tuesday morning.
Arce, who was the Undergraduate Students Association Council community service commissioner last school year, was taken into custody after the hearing and is being held on $100,000 bail. He agreed to not post bail until his next court date on Dec. 23.
University police arrested Arce in April after another UCLA student reported multiple sexual batteries from October 2013 to March of this year. At the time, Arce was a fourth-year international development studies student. He is no longer enrolled at UCLA.
Arce’s plea of no contest on Tuesday will be treated the same as if he pleaded guilty, said Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Alan Rubin.
While waiting for his case number to come up, Arce sat in the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Courthouse chamber with three of his family members, comforting them by putting his arms around them. As the bailiff escorted him out, his family members wept quietly, looking at the floor.
Rubin ordered Arce to go into custody at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles for 77 days until Dec. 23, when he will be released, said Spencer Hart, the prosecuting attorney with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.
In April, Arce pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual battery, one count of battery and one count of false imprisonment, which could have resulted in a maximum sentence of four and a half years behind bars. He faced an additional four counts of sexual battery and three counts of battery on Tuesday because two other women have since come forward as victims of battery, Rubin said.
Arce could have faced maximum jail time of up to eight years, but the prosecution decided on 180 days because it thought that number fit the crime, Hart said. Arce will likely only serve 77 days in jail rather than the 180 days because people ordered to serve jail time rarely serve the full order because of overcrowding, Hart said.
From now until October 2015, Arce must stay away from the UCLA campus, abstain from using alcohol and weapons and not break any laws. If he fails to comply with these conditions, he will be registered as a sex offender and will automatically receive a year in jail, Hart said. If he does not violate any of these conditions, he will be cleared of the sexual battery charges but may still be convicted of the battery and false imprisonment charges, Hart added. For the three years after October 2015, he will be on probation and must also follow these orders or else face a probation violation hearing.
Because Arce is not a U.S. citizen, he could possibly face deportation or other consequences concerning his immigration status if the federal government decides to take action related to his case, Hart said.
George Siddell, the lawyer representing Arce, was not available for comment.
Compiled by Yael Levin, Bruin senior staff. Contributing reports by Kristen Taketa, Bruin senior staff.