Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 6:45 am | Fair 38º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Civil Suit Filed Against UC Santa Barbara, Professor Over Abortion Confrontation

A lawsuit alleging a violation of civil rights has been filed against UC Santa Barbara associate professor Mireille Miller-Young, the university and three UCSB students related to a confrontation with an anti-abortion group on campus in March.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation filed the civil suit this week on behalf of the Christian pro-life group of youths who were involved in the March 4 incident, alleging the university never publicly reprimanded or punished the associate professor of feminist studies for her role.

In August, Miller-Young was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and 10 hours of anger-management classes after pleading no contest to three charges of grand theft from a person, battery and vandalism.

Prosecutors said the professor took an abortion protester’s sign that depicted graphic images, committed battery on another protester, and then destroyed the sign.

Miller-Young told police she found the literature and pictures “disturbing” because she teaches reproduction rights, and because she was pregnant at the time.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation, which supports anti-abortion advocates, named Miller-Young, the Regents of the University of California and UCSB students Erika June Ito, Briana Cresene Brown and another student (whose name wasn’t immediately known) for the part they allegedly played in destroying the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust’s sign.

The complaint alleges the university not only deferred censuring Miller-Young, but also implied the youths who had been peacefully engaged in advocating a pro-life worldview caused the incident.

“This is a mature, supposedly educated woman charged by the University of California to convey knowledge, and instead she conveyed discrimination and intolerance,” Dana Cody, president and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, said in a statement about Thursday’s filing. “Not only was she out of line in attacking students, but she literally drew blood from a minor.”

The civil suit seeks compensation for physical battery, property theft, civil-rights violations and attorney’s fees.

That could come on top of the $493 in restitution Miller-Young already must pay the victim’s family under the terms of her sentence, which also included community service in conflict-resolution workshops run by the Quaker Church and 10 hours of anger management.

Miller-Young’s attorney, Catherine Swysen, could not be reached for comment Friday.

UCSB spokesman George Foulsham said the university had no comment on pending litigation.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >