Michael Goguen, a Whitefish philanthropist, has been named in a lawsuit that alleges he has continually sexually assaulted a woman since meeting her in 2001.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Mateo County, California, accuses Goguen of a breach of contract, saying he did not fully pay Amber Laurel Baptiste money he allegedly promised her to keep her from suing him.
Among other community projects, Goguen funds the Two Bear Air search and rescue service that, while based out of Flathead County, operates across western Montana. He also gave a $2 million grant that is paying for two detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in both Missoula and Flathead counties who investigate online child pornography as well as sex trafficking.
In the lawsuit, Goguen is accused of abusing Baptiste “sexually, physically and emotionally for over 13 years.” Baptiste claims that she has been involved in human trafficking since the age of 15, and that shortly after she was brought to the county in 2001, she met Goguen at a Texas strip club.
He allegedly began to pay her living expenses and other costs in exchange for a sexual relationship with her “relying on his promise that he would help her break free of the human traffickers who held her in perpetual debt.”
The lawsuit details a long chain of alleged graphic sexual and violent acts Baptiste said Goguen forced her to endure in the years after their meeting.
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According to the lawsuit, in 2012 Baptiste found that she was infected with human papillomavirus that she believed was contracted from Goguen. He allegedly signed a contract to pay her $40 million, but after paying $10 million, refused to provide any more money. Baptiste’s lawsuit is seeking the remaining payments, as well as compensatory damages.
On Saturday, Goguen’s attorney sent the Missoulian a statement on his behalf which reads “These horrific allegations against me come at the end of a 10+ year romantic relationship that ended badly. Not surprisingly, the complaint is filled with every horrible buzzword you could throw at someone in today’s society to destroy their reputation.”
A cross complaint will be filed Monday by Goguen’s attorney alleging that Baptiste’s lawsuit is extortion.
“It will contain an enormous amount of evidence, including messages that span years and show that she pursued me romantically and professed her love, respect and appreciation for my kind and compassionate treatment of her,” the statement said.
Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firm where Goguen was a partner, announced following the lawsuit’s filing that he had left the company.
“This matter is purely personal and has no connection to Sequoia. My departure from there allows me to focus with full force on clearing my name and vigorously pursuing justice,” Goguen wrote in the statement.