Monday, May 21 , 2018, 12:26 am | Fair 59º


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.

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