BERKELEY (AP) — The University of California at Berkeley has fired a longtime member of the athletic department after an investigation found he violated the university’s sexual violence and sexual harassment policy with former student-athletes, including women’s basketball player Layshia Clarendon.
Clarendon, a current guard for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, filed a lawsuit in January against now-terminated Cal staffer Mohamed Muqtar — who initially had been placed on paid leave as Cal launched its investigation. The school said Thursday that Muqtar was fired effective last Friday, releasing a statement saying, “it pains us to hear about these actions by one of our employees who student-athletes turned to as a trusted adviser.”
Clarendon was at Cal from 2009 to 2013. When she filed the lawsuit, Clarendon posted on Twitter: “It feels there is a big level of responsibility there for me, to make sure this doesn’t continue. And he doesn’t continue to harm other people.”
She also tweeted that she had filed the lawsuit because, “I want the shame to not be my own anymore, because it’s not my shame to carry, but it’s something that I’ve had to carry.”
She continued: “It’s a horrible thing to live in silence, to carry that pain and that weight and the guilt.”
In the civil suit, Clarendon claimed that Muqtar sexually assaulted her in his apartment during the 2009-2010 school year. The lawsuit said Muqtar invited Clarendon back to his apartment to watch a jazz concert video.
At some point, the suit claims, Clarendon excused herself to use the restroom. While inside, the suit said that Muqtar opened the door and assaulted Clarendon.
The suit stated that Clarendon’s injuries — which includes severe mental pain, shock and depression — were delayed until the spring of 2017.
The assistant director of student services, Muqtar had been working for the university for more than 25 years, the school said.
“Our thoughts are with the survivors and providing them with the resources they need through the healing process,” the school said in a statement. “No one should be subject to unwanted advances or verbal or physical abuse, and we encourage any member of our campus community who has experienced sexual violence or sexual assault to reach out for help, which can include counseling, academic accommodations, information about the reporting process, and more.”
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