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UCSB Rape Victim Files Lawsuit Against UC Regents in 2014 Attack

A lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of a young woman who was gang raped and beaten at UCSB in 2014 alleges that the university knew about an unsafe part of campus but did nothing to address the problem.

The attack occurred on Feb. 23, 2014, when a 19-year-old UCSB student was severely beaten and raped by multiple men sometime between 11 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday.

The suspects, who were never located, were described as a group of Asian male adults.

Now, the victim, listed only as Jane Doe in the complaint, is suing the UC Regents, alleging personal injury, intentional as well as negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in Santa Barbara Superior Court.

The regents govern the 10 UC campuses across the state, of which UCSB is a part.

Steve Montiel, press secretary for the UC Office of the President, stated Tuesday night that the university would not comment on pending litigation.

The complaint states that the victim had been enrolled as a UCSB for two years at the time of the attack, and that a man-made fence of thick foliage shielded the area on campus from view, making the attack possible. 

“The foliage area was approximately 6 feet tall and about 24 feet wide, and stretched for about one block; it was big enough to conceal criminal activity for extended periods of time,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit maintains that UCSB had previously received complaints that several crimes had occurred in the area, but that nothing was done.

“Instead, UCSB tolerated the ongoing dark and overgrown foliage area and fostered a dangerous and crime-susceptible environment for its students,” the complaint says.

This created an environment where a savage rape and beating took place in the early morning hours of February 23, 2014, after which the victim was able to run back to her apartment, the complaint said.

The incident occurred after the victim became separated from a male friend walking through the streets of Isla Vista, when at least three unknown males forced her to the area on campus, where they beat and raped her for the next several hours, the complaint stated.

The complaint outlines several physical traumas she suffered, including a broken nose and eyes that were swollen shut from impact. The victim also contracted herpes from the men who raped her, the complaint states.

The victim was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where the complaint states she was administered an incomplete rape kit, which is missing photos of her injuries.

“Despite the fact that this has been the worst case of sexual assault at the university, UCSB did not reach out to a better-equipped law enforcement agency to assist with investigation and management of the case,” the complaint states.

The complaint also alleged that UCSB and the Regents have not done enough to prevent sexual violence on campus and have minimized crime statistics.

Josh Lynn, one of the attorneys representing the victim, said that it’s been almost two years since the attack with no suspects to show.

The victim was “singled out by predatory men, accosted and forced to a location on campus where the men knew they would not be found or caught,” Lynn said in a press release. “For almost four hours, Ms. Doe endured the worst kind of sexual violence at the hands of these men,”

While the victim is grateful for the recent efforts of the university to improve lighting, and cut away the veil of hedging, “she remains strong in her resolve to see that this kind of criminal opportunity for the worst among society no longer exists at UCSB,” Lynn said.

“Ms. Doe’s hope is that resources traditionally put toward other, more profitable matters affecting the campus are re-directed as a result of this lawsuit toward improving obvious, long-standing safety issues associated with, and resulting in, tragic sexual violence like that endured by her.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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