Longtime Sequoia Capital venture capitalist Michael Goguen is out of the firm following an explosive sexual abuse lawsuit that accuses him of “sexually, physically, and emotionally” abusing a woman for over 13 years and then refusing to pay her an agreed upon settlement in full.
Goguen, a partner at Sequoia for nearly 20 years, allegedly signed a contract agreeing to pay Amber Laurel Baptiste $40 million to drop a prospective lawsuit against him, but only paid $10 million of that sum, according to a filing in San Mateo County Superior Court earlier this week (and first highlighted by TechCrunch).
The background of the case is pretty graphic. According to the lawsuit filing, Goguen had been a “victim of human trafficking” since the age of 15. Goguen met her in 2001 and promised to help her “escape from the human traffickers” if “she would have sex with him,” the filing claims. Baptiste claims that Goguen raped and abused her over the next few years, then signed the payment agreement under threat of a lawsuit.
You can read the filing here:
Sequoia Capital tweeted the following statement in regards to Goguen’s departure:
We understand the allegations about Michael Goguen are unproven and unrelated to Sequoia. Still, we decided his departure was appropriate.
— Sequoia Capital (@sequoia) March 12, 2016
Calls to Sequoia and Goguen’s attorneys were not immediately returned. We will update this story when we hear back.