COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Former Brighton High football standout and USC linebacker Osa Chad Masina was charged Thursday with raping a woman he has known since high school.
Masina, 19, was charged with forcible rape and two counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies, in 3rd District Court. He surrendered to Cottonwood Heights police Thursday and was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.
He posted bail, which was set at $250,000, about 7 p.m. and was released from jail.
The charges were filed two and a half weeks after the allegations came to light when USC football coach Clay Helton announced that Masina would not be playing in the team’s season opener against Alabama due to a violation of team rules. The Deseret News learned that Masina was under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in Cottonwood Heights on July 26.
Masina also remains under investigation in Los Angeles for a separate sexual assault against the same woman, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Los Angeles.
Masina and the 19-year-old friend were at the same party in Cottonwood Heights on July 26. Both consumed alcohol and drugs at the party, and she left at one point with Masina and two other men to get something to eat, according to charging documents.
The woman told police she felt "not all there" and fell asleep in the car while the others got food. After driving around, they returned to the party.
Masina asked her which couch she wanted to sleep on and she said she doesn't remember answering. She fell asleep and awoke "to find Masina on top of her," according to the charges. She said she was in pain but unable to move.
She told police she woke up later and Masina was forcing oral sex, the charges state.
"She tried to call her friend and his father to come pick her up, but she could not reach either of them. Frightened, she left the house. She may have passed out again, because the next thing she could remember was waking up later in the morning in the front yard of a neighbor," charging documents state.
The woman suffered lacerations and damage to the porcelain crowns on her back teeth, according to police.
Masina later told police that he had engaged in sexual activity with the woman that night, the charges state.
“The victim stated she did not agree to engage in sex acts and was in no position to do so,” the search warrant states.
The Utah Legislature recently passed a law that eliminates implied consent and requires actual consent. So the failure of a victim to say no or resist, for example, is not required for an incident to be considered a possible sexual assault.
"I'm not sure what we can say at this point," Masina's attorney, Greg Skordas, said. "We don’t have any police reports. The probable cause statement is certainly troubling. We are going to get him in front of a judge as soon as possible."
The charging documents say prosecutors and police sought such a high bail because they consider him a flight risk due to his suspension from USC and the separate sex assault allegation in California.
“This evidence suggests that the Utah incident was neither a one-time event nor a spontaneous occurrence, and therefore raises concerns about the safety of others with whom the defendant may have contact," the charges state.
The Los Angeles investigation is based on an incident that allegedly took place July 14 after a fraternity party, according to the affidavit. The same woman told police she’d gone to Los Angeles to “hang out” with Masina and he invited her to a party where both of them took Xanax (a drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorder) and wine. They left and went to another party, where they both ingested more alcohol, and she said Masina gave her another Xanax pill, the affidavit states.
They went to USC linebacker Don Hill’s off-campus apartment, where she said they smoked marijuana, after which she told police she “only remembered ‘bits and pieces,’” according to the warrant.
She told prosecutors she was assaulted by both men, and that she was told by an ex-boyfriend that Masina sent him a video of the assault through the social media app Snapchat, the affidavit states. The ex-boyfriend told police he only watched a few seconds of the video because it was so upsetting. He said he then deleted it and blocked Masina from being able to communicate with him through the app.
Masina received an email from USC’s Title IX office Sept. 9, giving him until Sept. 12 to vacate his campus housing, according to Skordas. He was told he couldn’t return to “any part or premise of the university.”
The sophomore was “placed on interim suspension pending administrative review of a Title IX investigation,” Skordas quoted the letter as saying. Masina was excluded from all classes, forbidden from any involvement with all organized football team functions and was told he cannot participate in any university sponsored activities.
The letter also says he will be required to have permission to be on campus and must have an escort.
Hill has been suspended from football related activities, as well, but it’s unclear if he was barred from classes or the campus. He resides in off-campus housing and as of Thursday morning, no criminal charges have been filed against him.
Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo said his detectives were grateful for the cooperation of prosecutors, USC officials and Los Angeles police.
"We're pleased to bring justice to the victim who is both courageous and credible," he said. "These cases are always difficult for victims to come forward because it's hard to acquire evidence that would results in a successful prosecution. We're confident in the forensic evidence, the witnesses and the victim in this case."
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