WNBA All-Star guard Layshia Clarendon has filed a civil lawsuit against the regents of the University of California, alleging she was sexually assaulted by Mohamed Muqtar, a longtime Cal-Berkeley athletic department employee.
The suit, filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court, claims negligence on the part of the regents, who oversee Cal-Berkeley. Muqtar, 61, who has worked in the athletic department for more than 25 years, also is named as a defendant. He is the assistant athletic director for student services and graduated from the school in 1987 with a degree in economics.
Muqtar declined to comment when reached by Outside the Lines. Cal's athletic department released a statement later in the day, saying the university is aware of the complaint "but has not received a copy of the lawsuit nor had the benefit of reviewing the allegations."
"Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected," the school said in the statement. "Layshia holds a special place in our history for her contributions to Cal women's basketball both on and off the court and we are saddened to hear of the allegations that are coming to light today."
Clarendon is a member of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream. She played at Cal from 2009 to 2013.
She alleges that Muqtar assaulted her during her freshman year at the school. According to Clarendon, Muqtar is known as "The Mayor" on the Cal campus and frequently hangs out with student-athletes off campus, often paying for dinners. During her freshman year, Clarendon, then 18, said Muqtar invited her back to his apartment, where he allegedly followed her into the bathroom and assaulted her.
Clarendon said she never spoke about the alleged assault during her time at Cal.
When asked what prompted the lawsuit, Clarendon told Outside the Lines: "I want the shame to not be my own anymore. I want the shame to fall on him, 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."
Outside the Lines has spoken with a second former Cal student-athlete, who graduated in 2006, who said that during her time at the school Muqtar repeatedly engaged in inappropriate behavior. She did not officially report the behavior, but she told teammates and support staff at the time. OTL has confirmed her account.
The former Cal student-athlete requested anonymity because she has not yet told her family about the alleged abuse.
In addition, a former Cal instructor who frequently worked with student-athletes said that numerous student-athletes confided in her about what they alleged was inappropriate behavior by Muqtar. During her tenure, she said she twice approached athletic department officials with concerns about Muqtar. On both occasions, the instructor said she was told nothing could be done unless the women were willing to come forward with details.
The former Cal instructor spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to protect the female student-athletes who confided in her.
"The days of men in power, sexually assaulting women for their own personal gratification and without any fear of consequence, are over," said Jennifer Bandlow, a partner at The Cochran Firm who represents Clarendon. "What happened to Layshia is reprehensible and disgusting and should not happen to any woman ever again."
Clarendon said the overarching goal of the lawsuit was accountability.
"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."