UPDATE: 4:00 a.m. EDT — Michael Goguen filed a counter-complaint Monday against Amber Laurel Baptiste in the San Mateo, California, court where Baptiste had filed a sexual abuse complaint against him on March 8. In his lawsuit, Goguen accused Baptiste of various charges, including extortion and invasion of privacy, and asked for a jury trial.
The 28-page cross-complaint contains copies of emails and photographs sent by Baptiste to Goguen, which, the former Sequoia Capital partner claimed, prove that their relationship was a “mutually consensual love affair.”
Calling Baptiste’s lawsuit “a plan to get her vengeance” for being scorned by Goguen, the cross-complaint sought the return of $10 million that Goguen already paid the “exotic dancer,” as well as the payment for other losses and damages caused by her “extortion.” The lawsuit also asked for a restraining order against Baptiste.
Less than a week after a lawsuit claiming sexual abuse was filed against him, Michael Goguen, a long-time partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, reportedly resigned to focus on clearing his name in a case he said had no connection with Sequoia. The lawsuit was filed by Amber Laurel Baptiste against Goguen on March 8, claiming that he abused her “sexually, physically and emotionally for over 13 years.”
Baptiste reportedly claimed to have been brought to the United States by human traffickers who forced her to work at a strip club, which is where she met Goguen. According to her lawsuit, which provides graphic details of the alleged abuse, he promised to free her from the traffickers and demanded sex in exchange, and then abused her for more than a decade.
In her complaint, Baptiste reportedly also accused Goguen of making “routine demands that she use alcohol and other unknown drugs to render her more pliable to his lewd requests.”
The lawsuit claimed that Baptiste and Goguen had reached a settlement in May 2014, under which Goguen would pay her $40 million in four equal installments. He only made the first payment of $10 million and refused to pay the rest, the lawsuit alleges.
Goguen issued a statement through his lawyers Saturday, denying the accusations against him and said he would file a counter-suit Monday alleging extortion. He reportedly said the allegations came after a lengthy romantic relationship ended badly.
“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 said.
Sequoia, which came to know about the lawsuit last Thursday, issued a statement, saying: “We understand that these allegations of serious improprieties are unproven and unrelated to Sequoia. Nevertheless, we decided that Mike’s departure was the appropriate course of action.”
Sequoia is a well-known player in the venture capital industry, and has invested in big companies such as Apple, Google, Oracle, YouTube, PayPal and Dropbox. Gougen sits on the boards of about a dozen companies and his seats will be transferred to other Sequoia members, according to the Wall Street Journal.