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Woman Claims Pharmacy School Dean Assaulted Her

TUCSON, Ariz. (CN) — A Tucson realtor sued the former dean of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, claiming he drugged and sexually assaulted her in his home.

A Pima County grand jury indicted the former dean, Jesse Lyle Bootman, in October 2015 on charges of sexual assault, sexual abuse and aggravated assault. A new indictment in March also charged Bootman with kidnapping and administration of a dangerous drug to another person.

Bootman has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is free from custody and his trial is set for Feb. 7, 2017, in Pima County Superior Court.

Bootman has been a University of Arizona faculty member since 1978, and was dean of the College of Pharmacy from 1987 until 2015.

The school's website currently lists him as a professor of pharmacy, medicine and public health. In October, the school said Bootman was on leave and did not return an email Tuesday requesting an update on Bootman's employment status.

The alleged victim filed a civil case against Bootman on April 28 using the pseudonym "Jane Smith," claiming kidnapping and assault and battery against Bootman and negligence and defamation against two attorneys.

Bootman was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 28, 2015 and that same day the Pima County Sheriff's Department issued a statement about the charges. The following day, attorneys Brad Roach and Bobbi Berry called a press conference during which they allegedly defamed Smith by suggesting she had a "significant criminal history" and a "history of financial problems," Smith says in her complaint.

A transcript of the Oct. 29 press conference was attached to the civil complaint.

"Mark our words, this criminal case will end in a dismissal or an acquittal of Dr. Bootman," Roach said during the press conference, according to the transcript filed with the civil lawsuit. "Dr. Bootman will never be convicted of any crimes because he did not commit a crime."

Smith is represented in the civil case by attorney William Walker. He said Tuesday that the allegations of his client's financial problems and a significant criminal history are untrue.

"Making these statements public required her to come forward and tell the truth," Walker told Courthouse News. "And that's what this lawsuit does, it tells the truth."

According to Smith's complaint, "the purpose of the press conference was to create the false impression that plaintiff manufactured her allegations against defendant Bootman to extort money from him. As a result of the statements of the defendants at the press conference, plaintiff has suffered extreme emotional distress and been re-victimized by the false claims of the defendants."

Neither Roach nor Berry responded to an email and a phone call requesting comment.

In March, Arizona Superior Court Judge Scott Rash granted Bootman's motion for a gag order in the criminal case, barring the parties from making "extrajudicial statements."

Citing the gag order, Bootman's criminal attorney Joshua Hamilton declined to discuss the civil case. Co-counsel Richard Lougee said that Bootman will have a civil attorney but could not say who it would be.

Smith says in her lawsuit that she had met Bootman a few times over the years when she saw him at a Tucson sushi restaurant on the night of Oct. 2, 2015.

Smith says she followed Bootman back to his Tucson neighborhood from the restaurant for a "quick view" of his house, according to her complaint.

"At the time of their meeting at the restaurant, plaintiff had the utmost respect and trust in Bootman because of his status in the community and his position as the dean of the pharmacy school at the University of Arizona," the complaint states.

While Smith looked around the house, Bootman made her a drink that Smith says tasted like water with lemon, according to the complaint.

"The last memory plaintiff has of that evening was walking through the kitchen and toward her purse," the lawsuit states. "She remembers thanking Bootman and telling him she was going to go."

Smith says in her complaint that she woke up early the next morning "completely naked on a bed on top of the covers."

She continues, "As she looked around the room, still not moving, she saw on a nightstand right next to her a giant dildo. It was skin-colored. Next to it was what appeared to be a large bottle of lubrication. There was another item on the nightstand which defied a definitive description to her, but appeared to be rope-like."

Smith says in her complaint there was dried blood on her face, her lip was cut and swollen, and her "jaw, back, left knee and legs were also very sore."

As she was leaving, Smith "noticed a briefcase sitting on the chair facing the window with a prescription bottle full of pills on the briefcase," the lawsuit states.

Smith says in her complaint that she immediately went to the emergency room and was taken to Tucson Medical Center with severe injuries.

"These included a broken nose, severe injury to her knee and a hernia, both of which have required surgery, vaginal lacerations and cuts, a busted lip and bruises to her right leg and her back," the lawsuit states.

"Chemical tests subsequently affirmed that she had been administered a date-rape drug which rendered her in an unconscious state and unable to remember the events of the night of Oct. 2-3."

Smith seeks compensatory and punitive damages in the case.

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