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UCLA's Scott won't be charged

Football assistant's status with team to be decided after meeting with Dorrell, officials.

August 10, 2007|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

Describing important witnesses and victims as either "uncooperative or unavailable," the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office on Thursday announced it would not file charges against UCLA football assistant coach Eric Scott in connection with a residential burglary in Norwalk on July 24.

Det. Rick Broussard, the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's lead investigator on the case, said a 911 caller reported seeing three men forcibly enter the home but that authorities had not been able to reestablish contact with that witness following the arrests of Scott, 32, and two others.

Police records noted that Scott and the others denied burglarizing the home. Authorities at the scene also noted there were "no signs [of] forced entry."

Broussard said it could not be proved that Scott ever entered the home where deputies later found rifles, shotguns and "a large quantity" of marijuana.

Sports information director Marc Dellins said school officials were "aware of the D.A.'s decision. A statement on coach Scott will be made after a meeting with Coach [Karl] Dorrell, coach Scott and the athletic administration."

If UCLA is satisfied after that, Scott, a first-year receivers coach, could soon return to the team.

Dorrell said, "It's good that there seems to be some resolution to this. We still have to decide what is the right thing to do for the team going forward."

Scott, a UCLA graduate and former player, has been on paid administrative leave since his arrest. The Bruins started practice this week, and Dorrell and graduate assistant Brian Callahan have coached Bruins receivers in Scott's absence.

The university still has to tackle Scott's criminal history, details of which emerged following his arrest. Scott admitted guilt to three misdemeanors -- two concealed-weapon cases and a disturbing-the-peace incident -- between 1996 and 2005.

UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero has said an April background check of Scott was clean, but Dorrell indicated he knew some details about Scott's prior troubles. A UCLA official said this week that misdemeanors would not necessarily prevent a person from being hired by the university. For example, John Wristen, a football assistant last season, had pleaded guilty to assaulting two family members.

Scott's attorney, Milton Grimes, said Scott's arrests shouldn't bar him from continuing to coach at UCLA. Scott, a former player and assistant coach at Crenshaw High, is considered a strong recruiter of inner-city players.

"His background shouldn't take away his opportunity in coaching," Grimes said. "He reaches out to kids who often are overlooked in favor of the clean-cut kid from the suburbs. Eric grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood with a single mother. There's not a better person to be [recruiting] in [the inner city] there than someone who comes from there."

Broussard said Timothy Williams, 23, also will not face charges, for the same reasons as Scott. However, a third man, Jesus DeAlba, 23, will be charged with felony possession of a loaded firearm as soon as today.

DeAlba, an offensive lineman on the New Mexico Highlands University football team last season, will be charged in a crime connected to a handgun that was found discarded on the front lawn of the Norwalk home, Broussard said.

No drug charges were filed, the detective said, because of the absence of witnesses from or near the home.

Times staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this report.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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