A father was arrested on Friday for allegedly beating up his former co-worker, a Title IX coordinator at the University of Portland, over the handling of his daughter’s sexual-assault investigation.
Patrick Ell, 52, was charged with second-degree assault of Matthew Rygg, who also serves as associate vice president for student development at the private Roman Catholic university. On Friday, Ell allegedly waited outside of Rygg’s home around 9 p.m., hit him over the head with a baseball bat, then chased him down the street.
A probable cause affidavit in Ell’s arrest claimed that Rygg required 18 staples to his head after the alleged attack.
When Rygg called police, they found Ell just minutes later already back at his home watching TV with his family, according to The Oregonian. He had allegedly stopped at Rygg’s house on the way home from a Christmas party, his wife told police.
Ell and his daughter, Clara Ell, have publicly spoken about the allegation that she was raped in her University of Portland dorm by a classmate and their belief that the investigation was mishandled. The university’s formal conduct hearing process reportedly found that Clara’s purported rapist was “not responsible” and that the case did not warrant further looking into.
Clara’s family appealed that finding, but it was reportedly upheld by Holy Cross Father John Donato, the vice president for student affairs at the university. Afterward, Clara’s father, who worked as the assistant director of leadership at the school, reportedly quit his job.
Clara told Catholic Sentinel that she received neither support nor justice from the university, that she felt “forgotten” after she reported the trauma, and that she decided to identify herself publicly to help inspire other survivors. She didn’t go to the police, she has said, because she trusted the university to handle the case.
Clara has since transferred to the University of Oregon, she said in a public statement earlier this year, because she “didn’t feel safe” on her old campus after what happened.
“For our daughter,” Ell told Catholic Sentinel, “she really didn’t want anyone to go to prison. She thought he’d get suspended or expelled and hoped that would be a wake-up call.”
“We are proud and practicing Catholics, and we know this is wrong and we want to make sure all people in our community are protected,” he added.
But Father Donato disputed the Ell family’s characterization of the process, telling the campus community in December 2016 that the University of Portland not only adheres to federal Title IX laws but goes “well beyond the requirements”—and that all Title IX cases at the school “have been done with integrity, sensitivity and respect to all parties involved.”
The University of Portland told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that it was “declining any public comment at this time due to the active nature of this criminal investigation” but that “Dr. Rygg was released from the hospital, and is continuing to heal at an undisclosed location with friends and loved ones.” Ell is reportedly not allowed on university property pending the outcome of the case and was released on bail on Saturday.
Federal privacy laws also prohibit universities from commenting on individual student conduct cases.
Ell is reportedly due back in court on Dec. 31.