Venture capitalist Michael Goguen has left Sequoia Capital following a lurid lawsuit that accuses the longtime partner at the venture capital firm of sexual abuse involving a woman who had allegedly been the victim of human trafficking since 15.
The civil suit, filed last week in California's San Mateo County Superior Court on behalf of Amber Baptiste, claims Goguen is responsible "for years of physical abuse, emotional trauma, and damage to her health."
According to the complaint, Goguen met Baptiste in 2001, promising that he would help her gain freedom from human traffickers if she agreed to have sex with him. Baptiste, 35, also accuses Goguen, a partner at Sequoia for almost 20 years, raped and abused her for more than a decade.
"After she was brought to America and introduced to Mr. Goguen in 2001, his control over her life lasted 12 years," the suit states. " Ms. Baptiste submitted to Mr. Goguen's constant sexual abuse, relying on his promise that he would help her break free of the human traffickers who held her in perpetual debt."
The suit describes Baptiste undergoing emergency surgery after a 2012 episode in which Goguen allegedly "left her bleeding and alone on the floor of a hotel room in a foreign country."
The suit contends Goguen signed a contract to pay Baptiste $40 million to drop a threatened lawsuit against him, but paid only $10 million of the sum.
"Mr. Goguen's refusal to pay the remaining settlement payments is a willful breach of the settlement agreement and has resulted in damages in excess of $30 million," Baptiste claims in her suit.
In a statement released by his attorney, Goguen said the allegations come at the end of a 10-plus year romantic relationship that ended badly, according to multiple media accounts. He filed a countersuit on Monday, seven days after Baptiste filed her civil suit, accusing her of extortion.
Goguen and Sequoia, one of the best-known venture firms in Silicon Valley whose early-stage investments include Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL), YouTube, PayPal and Dropbox, said the lawsuit has no connection to Sequoia.
CNBC cited a source familiar with the matter in reporting that Goguen would have his seats on the board of companies Sequoia has invested in transferred to other members of the firm. Goguen sits on the boards of about 10 companies, including online lender Elevate Credit, which was on file to go public but postponed its offering in January, CNBC said.
In a tweet, Sequoia Capital called the allegations against Goguen unproven and unrelated to the firm. "Still, we decided his departure was appropriate."