Luz Portillo, a 24-year-old UC Santa Cruz student, has won one of the largest rape settlements ever after she claims she was raped by a professor. Her attorneys announced that the University Of California-Santa Cruz had agreed to pay her $1.15 million to settle before charges were filed. The million dollar settlement is one of the largest Title IX settlements in history.
Portillo claimed that an assistant Latin American studies professor, Hector Perla, took her out, got her drunk, and raped her in 2015. Portillo alleges that Perla invited her and another female student to a wine-tasting at Loma Prieta Winery on June 13, 2015.
The settlement was granted for what she claims was the university’s failure to address previous allegations of sexual harassment and sexual violence by the professor. Portillo claims that Perla gave her many drinks, “causing her to become severely intoxicated and lose her memory,” the complaint states.
While at the wine-tasting event, Perla encouraged [Portillo] to consume large quantities or wine, causing her to become severely intoxicated and lose her memory,” the complaint states. The three then went to the student-employee’s home, “where they supplied Claimant with more wine. The two employees then “engaged in non-consensual sex acts with Portillo, who was severely intoxicated to the point she was not fully conscious.”
After reporting the rape to her school, Portillo said the university began to show a bias toward Perla and “minimized what happened.”
“I had to become my biggest advocate. I didn’t want to go unnoticed,” she said. “I received very little help from my university, but I drew strength from other women at other schools who went public with their sexual assault.”
Portillo’s attorney, John Kristensen, said that the school “deliberately ignored” claims of sexual harassment by faculty, despite the fact that Perla had a history of drinking with students. Perla was allegedly known for inviting students out for beers, had “moved the class to a bar” one time, and had reportedly dated other students.