A University of California, Santa Barbara faculty member serving three years criminal probation for attacking a teenager spreading a pro-life message on campus now faces a civil lawsuit over her actions, which she blamed on being pregnant.

A nine-page complaint filed Thursday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court by Life Legal Defense Foundation seeks compensatory and punitive damages along with civil penalties against Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor of feminist studies at UCSB, the UC Regents and others in connection with the March 4 incident.

One of the plaintiffs, Catherine “Thrin” Short, was 16 when she and 10 others in a campus free-speech zone known as the Arbor, held signs, handed out literature and talked to passersby about the group’s view of abortion. Miller-Young came along, according to the lawsuit, shouted obscenities, mocked the group’s “intellect, age and education” and ripped a sign from the hands of a woman identified as Sarah Rivera and walked off.

Thrin’s older sister, Joan Short, 21, took hold of the sign, but Miller-Young, 38, “yanked it out of her grasp.”

Meanwhile, Thrin grabbed her video camera and hit record.

That video, made public by the group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, shows Miller-Young and students identified as June Erika Ito and Briana Cresene Brown walking off with the sign. Thrin can be heard yelling “thief” at Miller-Young, who turns and, with a smile, responds, “I may be a thief but you’re a terrorist.”

The video also captured the point where Thrin and her sister, after contacting UC police by cellphone, confront the attackers at an elevator leading to Miller-Young’s office.

“Believing that the police would be there momentarily, (Thrin) put her foot on the elevator door track to prevent the door from closing,” the lawsuit states. “Miller-Young then struck (Thrin) repeatedly, both kicking her foot and pushing her body to get her away from the elevator.”

Miller-Young got off the elevator “and began pulling on Catherine Short’s arms and dragging her away from the elevator, leaving scratches on her arms.”

Eventually, Miller-Young met the other assailants in her office, where they destroyed the sign.

When detained by law enforcement, Brown initially refused to identify herself then gave a false name, for which she was cited.

Miller-Young, who was three months pregnant at the time, told UCSB police that the images of aborted fetuses on the activists’ poster “triggered” her to act.

She originally pleaded not guilty to three misdemeanor counts of theft, vandalism and battery, but then changed her plea to no contest.

A sympathetic Judge Brian Hill sentenced Miller-Young, whom detractors call the “porn professor” because her areas of study include pornography and sex work, to three years probation and ordered her to undergo 10 hours of anger management therapy. She also was ordered to serve more than 100 hours of community service.

She paid $492.40 in restitution to the Shorts and another $295 in fines.

At sentencing in August, the associate professor, who is not teaching during the fall term, told the judge she was to give birth near the end of September.

Catherine Swysen, Miller-Young’s attorney in the criminal matter, did not respond to a request for comment on the civil suit.

Neither the university nor the UC system issued any public condemnation of Miller-Young’s actions or offered an apology over those actions to Thrin or the others.

But Michael Young (no relation to the associate professor), the retiring vice chancellor for student affairs, in a campus wide email expressing “my views on free speech” essentially casts students as weak against outsiders who are disruptive and have “the potential to draw us into the kind of conflict that puts at risk the quality of exchange of ideas that is fundamental to the mission of our university.”

In announcing the lawsuit, Dana Cody, president and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, blasted Miller-Young.

“This is a mature, supposedly educated woman charged by the University of California to convey knowledge, and instead she conveyed discrimination and intolerance,” she said.

“Not only was she out of line in attacking students, but she literally drew blood from a minor.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Life Legal Defense Foundation attorneys Catherine W. Short (Thrin’s mother), and Alison Aranda, who state four causes of action. First, that all defendants, by threats, intimidation or coercion, interfered with plaintiffs’ federal and state free speech rights. Two others focus on Miller-Young and the regents violating the plaintiffs’ right under California Civil Code “to be free from violence and intimidation by threat of violence against their property because of their religious and political beliefs and the peaceful lawful expression of those beliefs.”

The fourth cause of action claims battery on the part of Miller-Young who “committed an intentional, harmful and offensive touching of (Thrin) Short. Such touching was done without her consent and was unreasonable to any person in (Thrin’s) situation.”

As a result of the defendants’ “willful, wanton, malicious and oppressive” acts, the lawsuit states, Thrin and the others suffered “emotional distress, fear, shock, anxiety, embarrassment, physical pain, damage to property and loss of reputation.”

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