Court documents shine light on alleged UP employee assault


Patrick Ell is accused of using a baseball bat to assault a UP employee

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Court documents revealed new information on the alleged assault that occurred between a former University of Portland employee and the university’s current vice president of student development.

The court documents obtained on Monday said the suspect, Patrick Ell, struck Matthew Rygg over the head with a baseball bat late Friday night in NE Portland. A witness called 911 while this was reportedly happening, saying the victim was bleeding heavily after being struck on the head.

When Rygg was sent to a nearby hospital, he received around 18 staples to his scalp for several lacerations. A UP spokesperson told KOIN 6 News Monday evening the following:

“Matt was released from the hospital and is continuing to heal in an undisclosed location with friends and loved ones.”

Ell’s wife, Kristen, told police she and her husband were at a Christmas party earlier that night. Patrick left by himself as they had taken separate cars. Kristen said he left about 10 minutes before her but didn’t arrive home until about 20-30 minutes after she did. She said she did not know where he was or what he was doing during that time.

Patrick Ell was arrested on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 for allegedly assaulting a UP staff member. (MCSO)

Another UP employee named Sara Westbrook called the Portland Police Bureau to report information related to the altercation. She told police Ell and Rygg knew each other from the university — but, working together was not where the men’s interactions stopped.

Westbrook reported she knew Ell to be angry at university staff members and “particularly upset with Mr. Rygg.” The apparent animosity stems from an internal investigation into the sexual assault of Ell’s own daughter.

Ell’s daughter, Clara, used to attend the school. Around 3 years ago, Ell brought an allegation forward concerning the sexual assault allegations. When the university conducted an investigation, they ultimately found the allegations “lacked merit.”

KOIN 6 News spoke with Clara Ell at that time after she went public with her story.

Westbrook stated that “Mr. Ell’s behavior and anger later resulted in his leaving the school.” She said Ell believes the “investigation failed to hold a person accountable.”

Rygg told officers he believed Ell to be angry “with both himself and the University of Portland about the sexual assault investigation.” Ell had reportedly been emailing Rygg as well as sending him private messages on social media sites about 3 months before the altercation. However, Rygg told police the messages were not threatening.

According to an email sent to UP students and staff obtained by KOIN 6 News, the university issued a no trespass order to Ell on Saturday — barring him from university property and events. The email also listed various university resources for any student or staff member upset by the incident.

Sema Pankin was one of the students who got the email alert. He told KOIN 6 News he was surprised by the notice.

“I was a bit upset and frustrated that this thing happened because it’s not a good thing,” said Pankin. “We have a really nice school where all people are really kind. I was like, ‘how is this possible?’”

The email, sent by UP Spokesperson Michael Lewellen, called the situation “deeply upsetting.” Lewellen declined to comment further, telling KOIN 6 “The University of Portland is declining any comment due to the active nature of this criminal investigation.” 

The university email went on to list counseling resources for students and staff upset or impacted by the incident.

Ell posted bail and is out of custody on special release conditions. At his first court appearance Monday, his attorney Stephen Houze said Ell “will not have any weapons, he will not have any contact with the University of Portland employees.”

Ell declined to comment after his initial appearance. He will be back in court for his arraignment on December 31.

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