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Fotu Leiato

UO football player faces misdemeanor charges

University of Oregon linebacker Fotu Leiato was arrested for allegedly removing a parking boot from a vehicle.

Leiato, 21, was arrested by University of Oregon police at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at his residence on South Garden Way.

He was booked into the Lane County Jail on charges of second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree theft for damaging and removing the parking boot, University of Oregon police spokesman Kelly McIver said.

A senior and a projected starter for the football team in the coming season, Leiato also was booked on a warrant for failing to appear in Eugene Municipal Court earlier this month to face a second-degree criminal trespass charge.

Each of the charges are misdemeanors.

“We are aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering all of the information,” UO head football coach Mario Cristobal said in a statement Thursday. “We hold our student-athletes to high standards and will take appropriate action once all of the facts have been reviewed.”

The trespass charge stems from March, when Leiato was arrested by Lane Transit District security for trespassing at the downtown station at 1080 Willamette Street, according to Eugene police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin.

Leiato had been previously banned from the station after he rode a bus last November and refused to pay for his fare or show his Oregon Student ID card, which he was carrying, McLaughlin said.

He was cited for criminal trespass then and arrested last March when he allegedly reappeared at the station.

A warrant for failing to appear in Municipal Court on the trespassing charge was issued April 9, McLaughlin said.

According to the 2018 Ducks football roster, Leiato is majoring in psychology. Originally from Steilacoom, Wash., he joined the Ducks in 2015.

The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Leiato has played in 38 of 39 games for the Ducks during the past three seasons with a total of 37 tackles.

Leiato’s lone start at Oregon came in last year’s opener, when he had a career-high five tackles during a 77-21 win over Southern Utah. He had 14 tackles last season, including one for loss.

Leiato played in every game at safety as a sophomore in 2016 when he had 16 tackles. He was a linebacker as a true freshman in 2015, but he played mostly on special teams and had seven tackles covering kickoffs.

According to a 2015 article profiling Leiato in Sports Illustrated, Leiato had the most viewed highlights reel on the popular recruiting video website Hudl.com when he became an Oregon Duck. To date, the highlights video has had 957,980 views.

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