One of the cofounders of Palantir has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit by a former Stanford student who accuses him of sexual assault and sexual harassment, among other charges.
Stanford Daily reports that Silicon Valley technology executive Joe Lonsdale was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by former Stanford student Elise Clougherty.
The lawsuit accuses Lonsdale of raping Clougherty while he was her mentor at an entrepreneurship course. Clougherty also claims that Lonsdale went on to hire her as an intern at his VC fund Formation 8, which is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Lonsdale denies all of the accusations, and is preparing to countersue for defamation. A statement posted online by his lawyers calls Clougherty’s lawsuit “a vile collection of lies and a transparent attempt to destroy the reputation and good name of Joe Lonsdale.”
A statement published by Lonsdale in response to the lawsuit calls Clougherty “a disturbed former girlfriend” who is engaging in “a malicious campaign of lies.” Lonsdale also published emails sent from Clougherty to him, which he claims show evidence of a “loving relationship.” The site, set up by Lonsdale’s lawyers, also includes a signed statement from a former friend of Clougherty which denies her claims.
Lonsdale is a high-profile figure in Silicon Valley. He cofounded big data company Palantir in 2004 with Peter Thiel, Alex Karp, Stephen Cohen, and Nathan Gettings. He also cofounded Backplane, the social network company backed by Lady Gaga.