College Exec Accused of Sexual Battery

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – The campus president of an Oregon community college sexually battered an employee after telling her she was “not drinking fast enough” at a college event, the woman claims in court.
     Jane Doe sued Chemeketa Community College and Patrick L. Lanning, its campus president and chief academic officer, on Sept. 24 in Federal Court.
     Chemeketa is in Salem, the state capital.
     Lanning was president of the college’s Yamhill Valley campus and was put on paid administrative leave in February, according to the Salem Statesman Journal.
     Doe claims Lanning sexually battered her on the evening of Feb. 6-7, after a school-sponsored conference at the Portland Airport Sheraton.
     On the evening of Feb. 6, Doe says, she found herself seated next to Lanning. “On one or more occasions, Lanning commented that plaintiff was not drinking fast enough and encouraged her to drink more quickly. On two occasions, Lanning ordered plaintiff an additional drink without her permission,” according to the complaint.
     It continues: “During the same time and in the same place, Lanning made unwanted and unwelcome physical contact with plaintiff, including rubbing her back and shoulders, massaging her waist and buttocks, and touching her between her legs underneath the table.
     “After the touching between the legs, plaintiff left the bar visibly upset and crying.”
     Doe says two deans of the college took her back to her room.
     The room phone rang. One dean “suggested that it was likely Lanning” and told her that she “did not have to answer it,” Doe says.
     The female dean offered to stay with her in the room, Doe says, but she declined.
     Sometime thereafter, Doe says, “Lanning was in plaintiff’s hotel room. The room was dark, with the curtains drawn, but plaintiff was aware that Lanning was on top of her in her bed. Plaintiff sensed Lanning was touching her; that his hands were on her skin; that he was caressing her neck; that he was touching her sexually; and that he was sexually penetrating her.”
     Doe says she was incapacitated during the assault. She says she woke up naked in the morning, with Lanning’s eyeglasses on the nightstand next to the bed.
     Doe says she went to a hospital and underwent a rape kit exam. “The nurse telephoned Port of Portland Police to report a rape and that Patrick Lanning had been identified as the assailant,” Doe says in the lawsuit.
     She seeks punitive damages from Lanning for sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and intentional interference with economic relations. She seeks damages from Chemeketa Community College for civil rights violations, sex discrimination, negligence, and vicarious liability.
     She is represented by Richard E. Slezak in Salem.

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