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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Title IX and Sexual Assault/Harassment on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
Kristensen LLP Obtains $1.15M Title IX Settlement from UC Regents

UC Santa Cruz Settles Sexual Assault Case for $1.15 Million

UCSC Student Sexually Assaulted by Professor with History of Sexual Harassment

Los Angeles, CA – Kristensen LLP announced on behalf of their client, Luz Portillo, a former University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) student, that they have settled a case against University of California Regents for $1.15 million for its failure to address sexual harassment and sexual violence involving its faculty. It is believed to be the largest, or one of the largest, individual Title IX settlements in United States history, exceeding Florida State University’s settlement related to the Jameis Winston rape allegations.

The claim centered on allegations that Luz Portillo was sexually assaulted by one of her professors on June 13, 2015 and that UCSC knew for years that the Professor was a sexual predator. “It let the wolf roam,” Kristensen LLP alleged. UCSC’s failure to reign in the professor “only encouraged his ambitions. Like many other higher institutions, UCSC looked the other way when it became aware [the professor] was hunting undergraduates…The sexual assault of Luz Portillo and UCSC’s response is illustrative of the criminal neglect by a feckless administration that cannot even follow its own rules, and once it is too late, it tries to bandage up its prior malfeasance.”

“No amount of money will make her whole,” John Kristensen continued. “No apology will come close to being considered sufficient. Ms. Portillo, a promising future lawyer, was scarred for life because UCSC failed to comply with its own regulations and other rules governing higher education entities. This case is emblematic of the crisis of sexual assault on female students at our nation’s institutions of higher learning.”

The claim was brought against the University of California because, as John Kristensen noted, “prior to the June 13, 2015 rape of Plaintiff, UCSC was aware that [the] Professor…was sexually harassing students in direct violation of its own Faculty Code. The University was deliberately indifferent to claims by students of sexual harassment by faculty. There was no investigation and no attempt to protect subsequent students, including Plaintiff, from [this professor].”

“Enough is enough,” said Kristensen. “How many more students will it take for the Universities on this country to get the message that it must act to safeguard its students from predatory faculty? We hope this settlement sends a message to the UC system that it must take responsibility for its secrecy and its failure to protect its students.”