UCSC settles sexual assault case for $1.15 million

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- The University of California Regents has settled with a former UC Santa Cruz student for more than $1 million over allegations that she was sexually assaulted by one of her professors.

Her name is Luz Portillo. She wanted to speak out so people would pay attention to her story and it wasn't an easy decision.

She lives in the Los Angeles area now. She and her attorney talked with ABC7 News via FaceTime.

The day before Portillo was supposed to graduate from U.C. Santa Cruz was June 13, 2015. One of her professors invited her to a luncheon that day and sexually assaulted her.

"This is still a very present problem in my life," she said. "Something I'm dealing with on a daily basis."

She says she spent graduation day in the hospital and reporting the assault to police and the university.

Almost two years later, the University of California regents has settled with her for $1.15 million.

"The monetary doesn't mean anything to me," Portillo told ABC7 News. "All I wanted was some sort of recognition that something happened."

Her attorney says the university knew the professor was a predator and did nothing about it.

"It's that kind of behavior that festers and allows the kindling of the fire and it's really, really dangerous," said Portillo's attorney John Kristensen.

U.C. Santa Cruz has released a statement that says, in part: The allegations were investigated in confidence because our campus process respects the right and privacy of all parties, but we investigated the victim's claims as soon as she came forward.

Portillo has chosen to forgo her privacy. "If this helps at least one person--if this encourages one person to come forward, then putting my name out there was well worth it," she said.

She's planning to attend law school.

Click here to read the full statement from U.C. Santa Cruz.
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