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Venture Capitalist Hit With Lawsuit for Sexually Assaulting Women Over a Decade

Danae Vachata filed a lawsuit against venture capitalist for sexually assaulting her on a flight. Since she reported the incident last month, many women reached out to her, sharing their similar situations in the last decade with Lucio Lanza.

Vachata’s lawyers also sent in an amended complaint in Santa Clara Superior Court, saying that,

Lanza has groped and fondled multiple women over a period of more than ten years, similarly boasting about his power in the tech community to ‘make or break’ careers as part of his pattern of abusing and exploiting women.

These women haven’t been identified yet, but their names could be released over the span the lawsuit is in court.

73-year-old Lanza acts as the managing director of Lanza techVentures, a venture capital firm that backed over fiat startups in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, according to its website. Vachata co-founded the medical surgical startup Mallium and was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Healthcare this year. She claims they were both on the same in flight in July 2017. The lawsuit tells us Lanza appeared drunk and smelled of alcohol, and even switched seats to be closer to Vachata. He then physically assaulted her, groping her breasts and private area despite her resist and plea for him to stop.

The lawsuit claims that “throughout the assault, Defendant went on about his power in the industry in which Ms. Vachata works and how he has the capability to ‘make or break’ her career.” The lawsuit also states that Lanza said he was interested in investing in her company.

“After the incident happened, just by the way he approached things and the way that he threatened me, I knew deep down inside that this wasn’t his first time,” Vachata told The Verge. The support from other women was unexpected but she was hit with messages from all over of women saying the same thing happened to them. “It was very like, oh my goodness, someone believes me. Someone knows that I’m not making this up.” She said that at the same time it was hurtful to know that Lanza had allegedly “been doing this for so long and he has been using fear tactics to silence us.”

A spokesperson for Lanza spoke to Business Insider saying, “Lucio has no idea of what he is being accused of. As far as he remembers, he was on a plane talking with this woman about her startup.”

Another spokesperson for Lanza reached out to The Verge via email saying,

Ms. Vachata’s amended complaint is as sensationalist and meritless as the original. Neither has even been served on Mr. Lanza, but instead has been presented to the media to smear his name. We will defend Mr. Lanza vigorously.

[via The Verge]

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