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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Woman Says Rape Counselor Raped Her

SANTA BARBARA (CN) - A director of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center raped a woman he should have cared for, the woman claims in court.

Maria C. sued the Rape Crisis Center and its director Tom Storm on March 20 in Superior Court, claiming Storm raped her twice while she was under the influence of prescription drugs and incapable of consenting to have sex.

Maria C. says she was raped on April 18, 2013, then sought help from the center and began undergoing treatment on April 29 that year.

During her treatment, she says, Storm knew she was taking 30 mg of Temazepam, for insomnia, and 300 mg of Trazodone, for depression, each evening before going to bed.

She claims that Storm raped her twice while she was under the effects of the drugs and incapable of consenting to having sex.

She claims that when the drugs "began to take effect, during the first rape, and began to wear off, during the second rape, [she] realized that defendant Tom Storm was having sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge and consent."

She says the center's staff were aware Storm was "having a relationship with a client" but did nothing to stop him or counsel him on the "impropriety of him having a relationship with a client who had been raped" and was being treated at the center.

Instead of acting to stop Storm, she says the center's staff "ratified and condoned" Storm's behavior.

She claims that the California Victim Compensation Program awarded her funding to help pay for the services provided by the center and to pay for additional counseling.

But she claims that instead of receiving the money, the center's executive director, without her consent, had the Victim Compensation Program pay the funds directly to the center.

She seeks punitive damages for conversion, sexual battery and professional negligence.

She is represented by Arnold Gross with Savin & Bursk, of Granada Hills.

The center did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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