Ex-University of Portland employee sentenced to 18 months for attacking colleague

By Catalina Gaitán | OregonLive.com | December 13, 2021

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A former University of Portland employee who was angry about the way the school handled his daughter’s sexual assault allegation was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday for attacking his colleague in 2019.

Patrick Ell, 54, of Portland pleaded guilty in Multnomah County Circuit Court to a single charge of third degree assault.

Matthew Rygg, then the university’s associate vice president for student development, saw Ell standing on the sidewalk outside of his Northeast Portland home when he arrived at home Dec. 13, court records show.

Rygg said Ell didn’t say anything, but instead began hitting him with what he thought was a baseball bat, court documents show.

Rygg said Ell chased him down the street and hit him more when he tried to call the police. He told police he thought Ell was trying to kill him.

A woman who witnessed the attack called 911 about 9:15 p.m. Rygg was taken to Emanuel Hospital with a fractured shoulder and lacerations to his scalp that required 18 staples, according to court records.

Police said they found Ell a few minutes later and arrested him at his North Portland home, where he was watching TV with his wife and daughter.

A university employee told police that Ell was angry at members of the staff, particularly Rygg, over the way they handled an investigation into a sexual assault reported by his daughter, according to court documents. His daughter reported being assaulted by another student in her dorm room in 2016, when she was a freshman at the university, according to a UP Beacon article.

The university investigated the allegations and determined they did not warrant further investigation. Ell quit his job with the school as a result, court records show.

“Pat Ell is a good and decent man and a wonderful father,” said Stephen Houze, Ell’s attorney, in an email Monday. He declined to comment further on Ell’s sentencing.

Rygg told police he received Facebook messages and emails from Ell until three months before the attack, though none were threatening.

In a victim’s statement provided by his attorney, Rygg said he had anxiety and difficulty sleeping after the attack, and that his family had to move because their neighborhood was “forever marred” by what happened.

Rygg said he also had to undergo surgery and hours of physical therapy for his shoulder to heal.

“My sincere hope is that, with time and reflection, you can not only lead a productive life, but truly live the values you once taught and espoused as an educator and mentor to young people,” Rygg said in his statement.