UPDATED: Arrest report, court docs outline multiple spouse abuse allegations against Seagen founder Clay Siegall
New information has emerged detailing the events that led to the April 23 arrest of Seagen CEO Clay Siegall and a May 2 temporary restraining order against him, according to documents obtained by Endpoints News.
Around 3 a.m. local time on April 23, Siegall’s wife and a witness called police after he allegedly pushed her to the ground, and he was brought to jail hours later on a charge of fourth degree domestic violence gross misdemeanor, per police records from that morning. The records, as well as a restraining order and jail call logs, lay out the allegations against one of the highest-profile CEOs in biotech, who founded Seagen in the late 1990s and has built it into a $22 billion drug developer that led the ADC R&D field. Siegall was also one of the most richly compensated pharma executives in 2021, pulling in $18.1 million.
Siegall’s lawyer did not immediately respond to an email and phone call requests for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.
The details come to light after Seagen said Monday that Clay Siegall was placed on leave for domestic violence allegations, which the company said he denied. Seagen’s board also launched its own investigation into the matter.
Umoja Biopharma, a privately held biotech that Siegall chaired, said Wednesday after market close that he agreed to the startup’s request to resign from the board, effective immediately. Publicly traded Nurix Therapeutics, another biotech that Siegall is on the board of, told Endpoints in an emailed statement: “Siegall’s status at Nurix is unchanged. We continue to monitor the situation, and we will be guided by our commitment to the highest ethical standards as summarized by Nurix’s Code of Business Conduct & Ethics.”
“Seagen has high standards for employee conduct and condemns domestic violence in all its forms. We are treating these allegations with the utmost seriousness. Dr. Siegall remains on a leave of absence while the company’s Board of Directors, led by a committee of independent directors, conducts a thorough investigation with the assistance of an independent law firm. The Board’s future decisions will be informed by the outcome of the investigation,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Endpoints on Wednesday.
In a 58-page police document detailing the April 23 arrest at the couple’s home in the Seattle area, Clay Siegall and his wife were out to dinner with six others before they all returned to the couple’s home. Four of the others left before the alleged incident occurred.
Per a witness account included in the police report, Clay Siegall pushed his wife to the ground, and grabbed and pulled her by her arms. Siegall then went to bed and the individual called the police on their drive home. Siegall’s wife also called the police, the report said.
During his wife’s call with the police dispatcher, she said to “erase the phone call” and that she “did not mean to call.” She asked for the police not to come.
“Please don’t send anyone, I messed up by calling, he’ll kill me if he know I called … I accidentally picked up the phone and pressed 9-1-1 and shouldn’t have,” she said, according to the report.
“He pushed me on the floor, he videotaped everything,” she added.
She declined to give police the code to the house’s front gate, but the gate was already open and the police entered. The officers knocked on the door and she let them in. Clay Siegall came downstairs and spoke to the police after receiving a phone call from officers trying to locate him. Citing the size of the house, the officers called surrounding police departments to assist with the search, according to the records.
Per the report, when speaking to the officers, Siegall’s wife mentioned her husband’s public visibility as a reason not to come.
“[She] said her husband will kill her. [She] then added, ‘Please leave and go away,’ ‘He’ll go crazy, he’s a public figure,’” according to the police records.
According to another officer’s report of the incident: “I asked her what happened but she did not want to tell me as she said her husband would kill her. I asked if she really thought he would or she was just using that language and she would just kept saying [sic] I did not understand and her husband was a public figure.”
Clay Siegall denied touching his wife, according to the police reports. He was arrested and taken into jail that day. While there, he called his wife multiple times and blamed her for his being in jail, and he also called a DUI lawyer, according to the records.
“Clay thanked her for the possibility that he may get fired and that she may have ruined his career,” according to a summary of the call logs from jail.
Days after the incident, his wife went to the police station and said she had bruises from the evening of the arrest and wanted them documented. An officer took photos of bruises on her arms, face, legs and hips, according to the reports.
“She didn’t realize how bad she was hurt until the following morning when she began seeing the bruises,” according to the reports. She discussed having regular “hiding” places at their house in anticipation of his escalated moods, and described Siegall as verbally abusive, aggressive and controlling.
Then, on May 2, a local county court issued a temporary order restraining Clay Siegall from coming within 100 yards of his wife. The court cited “an emergency exists” as reasoning for the order, which lasts until a hearing for the protection order petition takes place. The hearing is set for next week.
In his wife’s petition, she cites years of various forms of abuse from Clay Siegall at their homes in Washington and California, as well as on business and vacation trips. In one instance of the physical altercations, she alleged Clay Siegall pulled out one of her drainage tubes while he drove her home after a surgery. Additionally, the night before their wedding, security had to be called because of a loud fight, she wrote in the petition. He held her down or against the wall “at least a dozen times,” she alleged.
“He treated me like a beautiful slave. Arm candy that looked nice on his arm when we went out and that cooked, cleaned and took care of him and his family when we were home. I lived day to day walking on eggshells,” she wrote in the petition. The couple has also gone through therapy, she wrote.
The couple had separated in February 2021 and initiated divorce proceedings in both states. She had been granted a protection order in California to protect her from “Clay’s angry, violent, controlling and threatening behavior” at the time.
Then, in June 2021, the couple moved back in together and paused the divorce proceedings. In December 2021, the couple dropped litigation against each other, per the May 2 petition.
One in three women and one in four men have experienced a form of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the CDC. Assistance and support for victims of domestic violence are available at the national hotline: 1-800-799-7233.