The trial of former UCSB soccer player Eric Frimpong begins today, nearly nine months after he was arrested for allegedly raping a woman on an Isla Vista beach.
This morning, presiding judge Brian E. Hill will hear pre-trial motions, which are currently not for public disclosure, and jury selection will occur later in the day. Hill will hear the motions at 10 a.m. in Department 14 of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. During court hearings preceding the trial, Frimpong pled not guilty and his girlfriend, second-year psychology major Yesenia Prieto, testified that the former soccer player appeared at her house in the early morning hours before his arrest claiming that he felt as if someone had drugged him.
During the summer, Hill ruled that Frimpong should stand trial after investigators found one of the alleged victim’s DNA samples on swabs taken from the UCSB student’s genitals. The DNA tests, run by the California Dept. of Justice, have served as a contentious issue for the defense, as no DNA from Frimpong was found on the alleged victim or her clothes. The only foreign DNA found on the alleged victim belonged to that of her boyfriend Benjamin Randall, who police have ruled out as a suspect.
Frimpong, who is a fifth-year applied mathematics and business economics major, was arrested on Feb. 17 of this year after the alleged victim contacted the police from the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. After news of the alleged rape surfaced, a second victim contacted the authorities, claiming that Frimpong had sexually assaulted her as well.
One woman, whom the court referred to as Jane Doe One, alleged that she met 21-year-old Frimpong on a Friday night while walking to a party when the two decided to take a detour to the beach. Jane Doe One alleges that Frimpong turned violent at the beach, struck her in the face and then raped her.
The trial’s opening statements are scheduled to begin one week from today, on Nov. 26. Frimpong will appear in court every Monday from 10 a.m. until to noon and again from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Department 14 until the trial has come to fruition.
Attorney Robert Sanger will serve as the defendant’s lawyer and District Attorney Mary Barron will try the case for the people.
Frimpong was a key player in the UCSB men’s soccer team last year when the team won its first national championship. Last year, Frimpong signed with the Kansas City Wizards, a major league soccer team. Following the rape charges, however, Frimpong was no longer signed with the team.