Former student and employee accuses James Brock of sexual battery
A former UCSB student and employee has filed a lawsuit against the Regents of the University of California and the current UCSB Police Chief, James Brock, accusing the chief of sexual battery.
The lawsuit, filed July 31 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, was filed on behalf of Emily O., who was 19 at the time of the incident. Her full name is withheld in the complaint. The plaintiff is represented by Bamieh & De Smeth, of Ventura.
The lawsuit alleges that on Aug. 3, 2019, the plaintiff was getting lunch at the De La Guerra Dining Commons on the UCSB campus when Chief Brock “came up behind her, grabbed her buttocks, slid his hand up her back and whispered in her ear” while in uniform, according to the complaint.
The plaintiff reported the incident to a coworker and her supervisor, as well as law enforcement.
On or about Aug. 16, 2019, the plaintiff made a formal Title IX complaint.
The lawsuit states that the UC Regents had the authority to take corrective action and institute measures to protect the plaintiff from further harm, and the “ongoing threat of harassment she has continued to face since the incident,” but took no interim measures against Chief Brock.
The plaintiff continues to receive ongoing treatment and therapy for the emotional distress she suffered, and the incident “impacted her daily living activities and her ability to access her education and educational opportunities as a student at UCSB,” the lawsuit states.
On April 27, 2020, UCSB’s Title IX office sent the plaintiff a letter, which said her claim was unsubstantiated. The letter also said the plaintiff would not be provided a copy of the report, which denied her “an opportunity to review the factual basis and reasoning” of the determination.
The plaintiff argues that the Title IX office “failed to timely conduct an investigation” into her complaints and said the delay was “unreasonable” and caused “severe and irreparable harm to her mental health, wellbeing, and equal access to education,” the lawsuit states.
She further alleges that her due process rights were violated by not receiving a copy of the Title IX report.
Also named in the complaint were other members of the department, identified as Does 1-50, who are “legally responsible in some manner for the events and happenings,” the lawsuit states.
At the time of the incident, Chief Brock was serving as the interim police chief, a position he was appointed to in May of 2019. He has since been appointed as acting police chief.
Other charges alleged in the complaint include negligence, violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the Fair Employment and Housing Act, as well as Title IX and Title VII.
Andrea Estrada, director of news and media relations for UCSB, issued the following statement to the News-Press:
“We are aware of the complaint in which an employee tripped and fell into another employee in a busy dining commons. Both an external investigator for the University and an external law enforcement agency conducted separate investigations of the claims when they first arose. The multiple investigations did not substantiate the allegations. The University will allow the process to move forward and we trust the court system will reach the correct conclusion.”
The plaintiff is seeking relief for general, special and compensatory damages from the UC Regents, as well as civil penalties of at least $4,000, attorney’s fees and costs and injunctive relief requiring the regents to amend their Title IX policies.
She also seeks general and special damages relief from Chief Brock, compensatory damages, the cost of the lawsuit and punitive and exemplary damages.
The plaintiff is requesting a jury trial on all causes of action.