Student Sues Santa Barbara City College for Sexual Harassment by a Convicted Sex Offender

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Student Sues Santa Barbara City College for Sexual Harassment by a Convicted Sex Offender

SANTA BARBARA, Calf. (January 31, 2019)— Santa Barbara City College administrators are accused of ignoring a female student’s repeated complaints of sexual harassment by a fellow student who had a history of sexual assault, according to a new civil lawsuit filed against the school.

“This lawsuit will hopefully raise awareness and call attention to a lack of oversight and the failure of educational institutions to take reports of sexual harassment seriously,” said attorney John Winer with the law firm Winer McKenna Burritt & Tillis, which represents the plaintiff.

51-year-old Christian Dungey quit her career in the hospitality industry to go back to school and earn a counseling degree for alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Dungey enrolled in three courses in August 2018 and shortly after classes began she encountered a male student who began acting inappropriately. They had three classes together and joined the same study group.

Over the next few weeks, the male student texted Christian frequently, asking her intrusive questions. In person, he made sexual comments about her appearance and made her feel frightened for her safety. Christian raised her concerns multiple times to instructors and administrators and their only suggestion was for her to withdraw from school.

“I was crying out for help and no one seemed to care”, said Christian Dungey. “Instead of properly investigating and addressing my complaints, the administrators urged me to drop out of school so that I could avoid interacting with him,” added Dungey.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, claims that administrators dismissed Christian’s concerns, failed to conduct a thorough investigation and pressured the plaintiff to withdraw from classes to avoid coming in contact with a student who spent years in prison for rape.

“Our client only discovered this disturbing information after she went to Santa Barbara Police who ran a background check,” said attorney Rachael Sauer. “The school made no effort to investigate the man who was terrorizing one of their students,” said Sauer.

The attorneys at Winer McKenna Burritt & Tillis bring more than 60 years of combined experience to each personal injury, wrongful death and employment law case that we handle. With offices in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, our law firm has obtained verdicts and settlements totaling more than $200 million on behalf of clients across the state.