A UCSB freshman is in Santa Barbara County Jail on charges that he sexually assaulted several women at Francisco Torres Residence Hall and in Isla Vista.
Edidiong Udo, 18, was arrested in his room at FT at 4:40 a.m. Sunday and charged with two counts of attempted rape, three counts of sexual battery and two counts of false imprisonment. Udo allegedly wandered in and out of rooms on the fourth and fifth floors of the building’s south tower while drunk, committing offenses ranging from attempted rape to groping, according to residence hall staff. An arraignment is scheduled for Monday morning at Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
The string of assaults ended down the hall from Udo’s bedroom on the fifth floor. Mike Sheridan, an undeclared freshman, heard a scream come from a woman’s room. The woman allegedly had woken to find Udo, who had found the door ajar and entered the room, standing in his boxer shorts. Udo then allegedly jumped on the victim and a struggle began, according to a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I could see her hands wrapped around the door, trying to open it, and him trying to hold her in,” Sheridan said. “She screamed, ‘help me get out,’ and I pushed the door in.”
Sheridan and the fifth floor resident assistant, Erika Williams, walked Udo back to his room.
Roommate Mohamed Tawy said he woke up around 4 a.m. to find Udo standing in the room with Sheridan, Williams and suitemate Mike Marini.
“He was very aggressive, he tried to punch [Sheridan],” Tawy, a freshman chemical engineering major, said. “But he also was apologizing a lot, and begging Erika not to write him up.”
As Tawy and Williams attempted to persuade Udo to get in bed, Udo allegedly hung on Williams and attempted to kiss her, an FT employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
Tawy was still unaware of what had happened.
“He kept asking Erika to give him hugs in his bed,” Tawy said. “I thought it was innocent, then I realized she was scared. I could see in her face something was wrong.”
Tawy said he was able to throw Udo onto his bed after several minutes. Udo was sleeping when police, who had been called to the scene by a Community Service Officer who heard a woman screaming, were led to his room.
Arresting officer Sgt. Suzanne Malloy said Udo matched the description of an assailant in an attempted sexual assault earlier in Isla Vista, and his total number of victims for the night could be as high as six.
“For a short period of time, he was going door to door [in FT] looking for women,” Malloy said.
Freshman political science major Matthew Thomas attended several parties in Isla Vista with Udo on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Thomas said Udo consumed a large amount of beer while at the parties. Thomas said he had to apologize to a few girls for Udo’s aggressive behavior.
“He’s bold out there, with the girls,” Thomas said. “He’ll dance with them, and he has no fear when he approaches a girl. But he was faded that night.”
A meeting was held Sunday night for residents of the fourth and fifth floors of FT. Resident Director Director Seth Avakian assured residents that Udo would “never set foot on Fransisco Torres again.” A resident asked if any new rules would be added in response to the incident. Avakian said there would be none, but urged residents to use caution when opening their doors at strange hours. Udo allegedly gained access to a room on the fourth floor by knocking on the door, an FT employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
A resident assistant said Udo, a native of Nigeria who moved to the United States as a child, had not been in any trouble at FT prior to the incident. Tawy said Udo kept very late hours, coming in most nights between 2 and 3 a.m.
“I was supposed to party with him Saturday night,” Tawy said. “But we had partied Friday and I really didn’t like being around him when he was drunk.”
Chancellor Henry Yang said he was “terribly upset and deeply concerned” about what happened at FT, which began its first school year under university control only a week ago.
“I want to be sure every student gets the counseling and care they need, and that the university’s resources are available to them,” Yang said. “I have the utmost confidence in our campus processes that the alleged offender won’t victimize any students any more.”