Woods, a 19-year-old freshman, was charged with two counts of sexual battery and four counts of battery. He could face up to one year in jail for each sexual battery charge and six months for each battery charge.
Calls to Coach Rick Neuheisel and other athletic officials were not immediately returned, however UCLA released a statement saying, "We are aware the City Attorney's office has filed misdemeanor charges involving E.J. Woods. We will continue to monitor the legal process. Due to federal and state student privacy laws and the fact that this is a legal issue, we are not at liberty to further discuss the situation."
The charges come from three separate incidents at off-campus apartments between October and January, according to the city attorney's office. According to reports made to police, Woods made repeated inappropriate sexual contact with a student. The reports said that a friend of the student confronted Woods at a party, requesting that he stop touching her. Woods shoved the friend "around the chin/throat area."
Woods, who attended Encino Crespi High, was not arrested. He received a voluntary appearance letter and is scheduled to be arraigned on April 6.
While we all believe in someone being innocent until proven guilty, I do believe Neuheisel and UCLA should conduct their own inquiries. More importantly they should excuse Woods from the team on an interim basis until the legal process around him is resolved.
This should allow Woods to focus on this legal situation. Neuheisel can make the final determination after the legal process is resolved. I hope that's the route Neuheisel and UCLA takes. I am all for closing the gap with Carroll's football program but I'd like to see that on the field not off it.
UPDATE (N): Per the Daily News, Woods has already been "disciplined" and that there is more to come no matter what happens with these charges:
Woods remains an active member of the football team, but he will face discipline regardless of the outcome of the charges, according to sources. After Woods was arrested, he was disciplined by Neuheisel, sources said. A UCLA spokesman would not comment.
That is welcome news but it would be interesting to know how he was disciplined.. GO BRUINS.