In a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the regents of the University of California, WNBA All-Star Layshia Clarendon claims she was sexually assaulted by a Cal-Berkeley athletic department employee, ESPN’s Kate Fagan reports.
According to ESPN, Clarendon’s lawsuit alleges that when she was a freshman, assistant athletic director Mohamed Muqtar, 61, invited her to his apartment, followed her into a bathroom and assaulted her. ESPN reports that another former Cal athlete also alleges Muqtar “engaged in inappropriate behavior,” while a Cal instructor said she twice brought athletes’ concerns about Muqtar to administrators, who turned her away. Muqtar has worked at Cal for 25 years and reportedly often hangs out with student athletes.
Clarendon attended Cal from 2009 to 2013 before being drafted into the WNBA. She earned her first career All-Star berth in 2017 while averaging 10.7 points and 6.6 assists per game for the Atlanta Dream.
Clarendon told ESPN (and later tweeted) that she wants “the shame to not be my own anymore, because it is not my shame to carry.”
Regarding the news today: 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. It's a horrible thing to live in silence, to carry that pain and that weight and the guilt. https://t.co/Ah5RjNOY29
— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) January 17, 2018
Clarendon also said she hopes that suing the school will prevent Muqtar from harming other women in the future. Via ESPN:
“My biggest hope is that he never does this to anyone else,” said Clarendon, who led Cal to its only Final Four in 2013. “That no one else has to suffer under his hand, or him violating their bodies again. That this would be the end of him assaulting people. And so 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.”
This is not the Cal athletic department’s first sexual misconduct scandal in recent years. In 2016, Cal assistant men’s basketball coach Yann Hufnagel was fired after sexually harassing a reporter over text and in person. Hufnagel, who was later hired at Nevada, admitted that he brought her to the garage of his apartment building and asked her repeatedly to have sex with him.