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Former Santa Barbara City College student sues school, claims she was sexually harassed

Posted at 6:42 PM, Feb 21, 2019

A former Santa Barbara City College student is suing the school after she claims school leaders did nothing to stop another student from sexually harassing her.

Christian Dungey, a Santa Ynez resident, enrolled in classes in August but dropped out by October due to what she calls the stress of the harassment she experienced.

“I was in dire need of help,” Dungey said. “I didn’t feel safe on that campus at all, not even in the classroom.”

Dungey said she exchanged phone numbers early on with her classmates to form a study group but claims one student used the exchange of numbers as a way to constantly text her unwanted advances.

“(He said) good morning beautiful, sleep well beautiful, looking forward to seeing you,” Dungey said.

As a married woman, Dungey said the text messages were concerning but she said she was really disturbed once the student began showing up at random places she was at on campus and then began making sexual noises directed toward her in class.

In her lawsuit against SBCC, Dungey explains how she reached out to her professor for help but was told to drop the class.

Though she admits she never confronted the student about the harassment directly, Dungey said she asked her professor repeatedly for help.

“They failed to make a report, failed to investigate her claims,” said Rachel Sauer, Dungey’s attorney.

Sauer believes the school had a duty to protect Dungey but failed.

Dungey then contacted police and learned that her fellow classmate was on parole for rape.

The Santa Barbara Police officer wrote in his report that he spoke with the student’s parole officer, who said the man had been “a model parolee and had no violations in the last year and a half.”

The officer also spoke with the student, who reportedly said his “intentions were never sexual.”

Sexual offenders can enroll in college, but California state law requires offenders to register with campus police.

SBCC declined to comment on an open investigation, so it’s unclear just how many sex offenders are enrolled there.

A spokesman for Cal Poly reports three registered offenders on campus but said none are enrolled as students. Cuesta College did not provide the data but said it is committed to providing a safe educational environment for students.

Dungey recognizes that sexual offenders, too, have the right to an education, but she said other students like herself deserve protection.

“I’m very concerned about other students and their safety,” Dungey said.

The college has yet to respond to the complaint, which seeks unspecified damages, but did respond to Dungey in formal communication dated from November. The letter states that the college’s investigation did not find any evidence of verbal, non-verbal, or physical harassment against Dungey.

The college did note that it did recommend a verbal warning to the student.