Assault victim told police former UP employee attacked him with baseball bat

Court documents point to suspect's anger about university's ruling on daughter's sexual assault case

By Madison Pfeifer | December 16, 2019 5:58pm

Patrick Ell waits outside the courtroom with his attorney, Stephen Houze. Ell is charged with Second Degree Assault, a felony.

Media Credit: Madison Pfeifer / The Beacon

Police documents allege that former University of Portland employee Patrick Ell used a baseball bat “with great purpose and anger” to assault Associate Vice President for Student Development Matthew Rygg Friday night. 

Ell, who is charged with Second Degree Assault, made his first court appearance today. He has hired prominent criminal defense attorney Stephen Houze, who accompanied him to court.

During the brief proceeding, Ell, through his attorney, agreed to follow certain restrictions, including staying away from the University of Portland campus and events.

According to the probable cause affidavit Portland Police released today, Rygg said he returned to his home Friday night when he saw a man loitering nearby. Rygg said the man began to strike him with a baseball bat. 

“Mr. Rygg told me Patrick Ell struck him several times with great purpose and anger,” the report said. “Mr. Rygg told me he believed Patrick Ell was attempting to kill him.”

A woman who witnessed the assault called 9-1-1 and reported that Rygg was hit on the head and was bleeding heavily.

“(Rygg) was transported to Emanuel Hospital where he was treated for several lacerations to his head,” the report said. “Mr. Rygg’s treatment included the placement of some 18 staples into his scalp.”

The report also states that Director of Public Safety Sara Westbrook informed police about Ell and Rygg’s previous relationship at UP. 

Westbrook told police that Ell became upset about the outcome of an internal university  investigation of a 2016 sexual assault reported by his daughter, who was a UP freshman at the time. The investigation found the accused “not responsible.”

“Ms. Westbrook told me Mr. Ell was angry about the allegations and about the university’s investigation and conclusion,” the report said. “Ms. Westbrook said Mr. Ell’s behavior and anger later resulted in his leaving the school. Ms. Westbrook told me she believed Mr. Ell was particularly upset with Matthew Rygg.”

As Associate Vice President for Student Development, Rygg oversees the Residence Life department, which runs the student conduct process that ruled on Ell’s daughter’s sexual assault case.

The affidavit says Rygg also told police that Ell had been messaging him on social media and via email. However, Rygg said the messages were not threatening and the last message he received was about three months ago.

Ell’s wife Kristen told police she was with Ell at a Christmas party before the attack, but he left about 10 to 15 minutes before her in a separate car. 

She said that he arrived home around 20 to 30 minutes after she got home at 9:30 p.m.

“Kristen did not know what Ell did during that time,” the report said. “Ell then remained at the house with his wife and daughter watching TV.”

Ell’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 31 at 2:10 p.m.

UP employees at today’s previously scheduled staff Christmas luncheon on campus said the mood was not as festive as usual. 

Vice President for Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator Sandy Chung spoke to staff from the podium saying she had talked with Rygg, who is recovering from injuries to his head, neck and shoulder area. Chung told Rygg it would be hard to celebrate under the circumstances, but Rygg told her it was important at times like these to "break bread" together and support each other.

Maddie Pfeifer is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at


Probable Cause Affadavit - Pat Ell