Saturday, March 12, 2016

Whitefish philanthropist accused in lawsuit of assaulting woman

Chief pilot Jim Bob Pierce, left, and executive director Jordan White stand next to Two Bear Air Rescue's Bell 429 helicopter at its Glacier Park International Airport hangar recently. The helicopter with its state-of-the-art search and rescue equipment and the expenses to keep it operating have been funded entirely by part-time Whitefish resident Mike Goguen.



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.


Mike Goguen.


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.

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.

Goguen’s attorney told technology website TechCrunch that a countersuit will be filed on Monday that says Baptiste is attempting to extort Goguen. Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firm where Goguen is a partner, also told TechCrunch that he has left the company.

Original article can be found here: http://missoulian.com

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