UC settles sex assault case for $1.15 million

Feb 3, 2017 by

The University of California will pay $1.15 million to a former UC Santa Cruz student to settle her claim that a professor raped her when she was his student in 2015, and that campus officials knew the man had a history of pursuing students but did nothing to stop him.

According to the claim, another student who worked at UC Santa Cruz was involved in the assault.

Image result for Luz Portillo photos

Attorneys for the former student, Luz Portillo, say the settlement could be the largest awarded to an individual in a campus sexual assault case. Although The Chronicle does not typically identify victims of sexual assault, Portillo, now 24, said she wants to go public because she would have liked to know when she was assaulted that she was not alone.

“Sexual assault has been a very common theme in higher education, and it should not be happening,” Portillo said. “If me coming forward helps any other victim, that’s the best thing I could have done.

Portillo, who was 21 when she was assaulted, said the impact “is spread across all aspects of my life — not only academically, but personally. I’m still working very hard to overcome it. It’s been a very, very trying time.”

Portillo’s complaint says that in May 2015, she was wrapping up the last two classes of her major in Latin American and Latino Studies and preparing to graduate. The assistant professor teaching the classes held one of them at Woodstock’s Pizza in downtown Santa Cruz, and after he and the students “consumed several beers,” according to the complaint, he invited Portillo and another student who was employed by the campus to go with him to the Loma Prieta Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains on June 13.

“While at the wine-tasting event (the assistant professor) encouraged Claimant to consume large quantities or wine, causing her to become severely intoxicated and lose her memory,” according to the complaint.

The three then went to the home of the student-employee, “where they supplied Claimant with more wine,” says the complaint. The two employees then “engaged in non-consensual sex acts” with the student who was drunk and not fully conscious.

Source: UC settles sex assault case for $1.15 million – SFGate

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