OAKLAND — A former Cal football player found guilty this year of raping one student and trying to rape another was sentenced Tuesday to four years in state prison.
Ending a case that included unsubstantiated admissions of football player drug cover-ups and accusations by three other women of sexual assault by the former top high school prospect, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon sentenced Noah Smith to four years in prison instead of the 17 years sought by the county's district attorney.
Smith, 23, who must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, was arrested in May 2007 after a fellow student told police the football player had forced her to give him oral sex and then raped her in her apartment during what was to be a meeting about a class.
Investigations by the UC Berkeley Police Department found another woman who said Smith tried to rape her but she escaped.
Smith was arrested and charged with one count of rape, one count of forced oral copulation and one count of attempted rape.
During the trial, two other women stepped forward and said Smith raped them. Although they testified in the case, no separate charges were filed because they had not reported the rapes to police when they occurred and did not want to pursue criminal charges afterward.
Both women told similar stories about how Smith feigned an illness that he said required him to collect and store his own sperm.
A fifth woman testified that Smith told her he had such an illness, but she said she left because he was not making sense.
In testimony, Smith denied assaulting or raping any of the women.
Smith spoke about wanting to be an FBI agent but also about how he routinely would break football team rules if he did not agree with them.
For example, he said he provided urine samples to other players who feared failing mandatory drug tests. When Smith was arrested, specimen cups were found in his apartment, and he said during the trial that he had stolen those cups so he could fill them with clean urine samples.
A Cal football official denied the claims. "There are policies and procedures in place to prevent the situation he described," said Herb Benensen, assistant athletic director for media relations.
Reardon said the former football player had many positive attributes that contributed to the decision to give him a shorter sentence. Smith had no prior criminal record when he was arrested and had a host of supporters at his sentencing, pleading with the judge to show mercy.
Those supporters included Smith's grandmother, mother, father, girlfriend and two cousins, all of whom spoke to Smith and Reardon before the sentence was issued.
"I'm not sure I have seen anybody with as much support as Mr. Smith," Reardon said. "How did somebody with so much going on get to this point? It's someone for whom much has been given demanding more."
Reardon said the mitigating factors in the case outweighed the aggravating factors, so he issued the shorter sentence.
Deputy district attorney Patrick Moriarty, who during the trial labeled Smith a sociopath, said after the hearing that he respected Reardon's decision.
Colin Cooper, Smith's attorney, could not be reached for a comment.