Lawsuit Against Youth Interactive Alleges Rape Against Minor
Youth Interactive space on State Street (Photo: Facebook)
By edhat staff
A lawsuit filed against Santa Barbara non-profit Youth Interactive alleges a minor was raped and offered drugs at the CEO's home.
The complaint, filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on October 22, states a 14-year-old girl referred to as "Jane Doe" was raped by a man who served as a mentor with the organization in 2014. On November 7, Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka sent a message to parents stating all students and staff should immediately stop participating in Youth Interactive programs.
Youth Interactive was formed in 2012 as a "unique entrepreneurial arts academy" for young adults aged 14-24 in Santa Barbara County, according to its website. They opened a Youth Interactive Center in the heart of the Funk Zone at 209 Anacapa Street led by CEO Nathalie Gensac. At some point after opening, the organization moved its location to 1219 State Street.
Gensac, a former European television host and model born in France, has opened similar youth centers throughout the world.
The complaint states that Jane Doe was an "at-risk youth" when she joined the organization in 2014 and was mentored by a then 25-year-old artist Jonathan Hernandez. It goes on to state that Gensac took Jane Doe into her Montecito home in May of 2014 where Hernandez would sometimes stay overnight.
One evening during the spring of 2014, the lawsuit states Gensac and Hernandez were drinking red wine and smoking marijuana while watching the film "Pulp Fiction" and offered marijuana to Jane Doe. After Gensac went to bed that evening, it's alleged that Hernandez raped Jane Doe on the sofa.
The lawsuit states after the incident Jane Doe was transferred to the home of Youth Interactive's coordinator Emily Griffith where Griffith stated she knew about Hernandez and Jane Doe having sex. Youth Interactive employees are mandated reporters of child abuse, this incident went unreported to the police.
It's also alleged Jane Doe was sexually assaulted a second time by Hernandez at the 1219 State Street Youth Interactive office several months following the first assault.
In January 2017, Jane Doe states she told Gensac about the rape in her home. Gensac did not report this to the proper authorities and was allegedly told by Youth Interactive board members that she would be liable if a rape occurred in her home, according to the complaint.
Hernandez and Griffith are no longer affiliated with Youth Interactive.