Santa Cruz County

UC Regents settle rape case against former UCSC professor

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - On Tuesday, a Los Angeles-based law firm announced a settlement was reached in a 2015 rape case involving a former female UC Santa Cruz student and a professor.

Attorney John Kristensen said the case filed against University of California Regents claimed UCSC failed to address sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus. A statement issued Monday said those claims focusing on allegations that the student was sexually assaulted and that campus officials knew the professor was a sexual predator.

UCSC's Chancellor George Blumenthal and Interim Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Herbert Lee issued a campus-wide statement Monday:

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We want to respond to serious allegations, made public today, that a former member of our faculty sexually assaulted a student in June 2015. As soon as these allegations were reported, the campus acted swiftly to address the victim’s claims, which appeared to be clear violations of the UC Santa Cruz policy on sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The safety of our students is our top priority, and these alarming allegations demanded immediate attention. The campus cooperated with a law enforcement investigation and simultaneously launched a swift and thorough Title IX investigation of the allegations against the faculty member. When our preliminary investigation warranted action, we immediately removed the faculty member from campus, prohibited all contact with students, and placed the individual on leave pending the outcome of the Title IX investigation.

After the Title IX investigation was completed, and after the campus had begun formal disciplinary proceedings against the faculty member, he tendered his resignation, effective June 1, 2016. 

The allegations were investigated in confidence, because our campus process respects the rights and privacy of all parties, but we investigated the victim’s claims as soon as she came forward.

As a campus, we launch immediate inquiries and take formal disciplinary action when warranted. Until today’s statement by attorneys representing the victim, we have avoided public comment to protect the student’s privacy.

This case reminds us that we—faculty, staff, and students—each have responsibilities toward building a safe, supportive campus community. We will continue to strive to protect our students and ensure that victims receive all the support services we have in place. Resources and information are available online.

We are eager to see the day when sexual assault and harassment are not issues on college campuses, but as long as they are, we will continue to uphold the highest standards to protect our students, faculty, and staff. 

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Law firm Kristensen Weisberg, LL said the case was settled for $1.15 million.

“No amount of money will make her whole,” Kristensen said. “No apology will come close to being considered sufficient."

 

 


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