Kenechukwu Denzel Ugwueze, a former Santa Barbara City College football player who was arrested for raping two women last year, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, the day before opening arguments in his trial were set to begin. He is expected to be sentenced to six years in prison on January 11.
Last year, on the night of September 1, a 19-year-old female City College student called the police to report that Ugwueze had raped her earlier that day at his house on Pacific Avenue. It was the beginning of the school year, and she had just become acquainted with Ugwueze. The two had gone to his place near campus to hang out between classes, she told the cops, and he forced himself on her. According to prosecutor Von Deroian, the victim was not intoxicated at the time. That night, officers interviewed her at her parents’ house, and shortly after, she underwent a medical examination. Ten days later, police arrested Ugwueze, who is from Corona. He was booked in County Jail on $100,000 bail. He later bonded out.
Last October, The Channels, SBCC’s student newspaper, first reported the story. Santa Barbara police detective Chad Hunt read the article’s online comments, which claimed Ugwueze had sexually assaulted other women. Hunt contacted the paper to track down other potential victims. He was successful. One woman told Hunt she had met the perpetrator on Instagram. He invited her over to his house, where he raped her one night over the summer.
Based on these interviews, officers obtained a warrant to again arrest Ugwueze, who was in Riverside County on juvenile probation for having sex with a minor, according to police. He was arrested a second time on November 13, 2015, and booked on $1 million bail. He has since remained in custody.