A graduate of the prestigious Stanford University in the United States has accused her ex-boyfriend and mentor of raping her during their one-year relationship. Her accusations against the fellow Stanford alumnus include gender violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
According to the Stanford Daily, which publishes Stanford-related news, Ms Elise Clougherty, 24, on Jan 27 filed a lawsuit against Mr Joe Lonsdale, 32.
Ms Clougherty was an undergraduate at the university when she first met Mr Lonsdale, who is now the co-founder of data mining firm Palantir and founding partner of venture capital fund Formation 8. Mr Lonsdale counter-sued Ms Clougherty on Jan 30, according to American news site CBS Local.
Mr Joe Lonsdale was from the class of 2004 and Ms Clougherty was from the class of 2013.
The two entered a relationship in February 2012. Ms Clougherty took a class called High Technology Entrepreneurship in January 2012, and according to the lawsuit, Mr Lonsdale, who had volunteered as a mentor for the class, allegedly "used his position of power... to initiate an intimate relationship with Ms Clougherty."
The lawsuit also alleged that Mr Lonsdale then leveraged his friendship with the course's professor in order to have Ms Clougherty re-assigned as his mentee.
Mr Lonsdale responded to the lawsuit with a personal statement and called the accusations part of "a vengeful, personal attack by a disturbed former girlfriend."
"Shortly after I ended the relationship in 2013, my ex-girlfriend began a malicious campaign of lies," he said.
"Upset that I was not willing to continue the relationship, she contacted business associates, friends and others advancing a repugnant and increasingly bizarre narrative of 'abuse' hoping to hurt me and damage my career. To quote the words she sent in a text to her close friend, this is a 'Joe take down scheme'."
The lawsuit claimed that Mr Lonsdale raped Ms Clougherty several times while serving as her mentor and later hired her as an intern for Formation 8 in May 2012 in order to remain close to her. He allegedly continued to force himself upon her over the following months, and the loving behaviour he showed in the middle of these episodes caused Ms Clougherty to become "powerfully attached" to Mr Lonsdale.
Ms Clougherty and her mother reported Mr Lonsdale's actions to Stanford University in February 2013, according to the lawsuit. After an investigation of Ms Clougherty's allegations, the university banned Mr Lonsdale from campus for a minimum of 10 years.
Both Ms Clougherty and Mr Lonsdale have requested jury trials, according to CBS Local.