WNBA player Layshia Clarendon, an all-star guard with the Atlanta Dream, has filed a civil suit against the University of California, alleging that a long-term employee sexually assaulted her when she was a freshman at UC Berkeley, reports ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
Clarendon, who attended the university from 2009 to 2013, filed suit against the regents who oversee UC Berkeley, claiming neglect on their part, and against Mohamed Muqtar, a 25-year-employee of the university’s athletic department who she said assaulted her. Muqtar is reportedly referred to as "The Mayor" around campus and has a reputation for hanging out with students off campus and outside of school events.
In an essay for Mic in 2014, Clarendon wrote about being a sexual assault survivor without going into details about her abuser.
“I walked alone in my shame for years. I only recently told my girlfriend, and she was the first person I ever shared my story with. That's a long time to carry something. Something that I should not have felt I had to carry,” Clarendon wrote for Mic at the time. “I am speaking up because I want people to know that it can happen to anyone, that you are not alone and that it was not your fault.”
While Muqtar refused to comment on the allegations, the university released a statement, although a spokesperson that it had yet to receive a copy of the lawsuit.
"Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected," a spokesperson for UC Berkeley 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."
However, it appears that Clarendon was not Muqtar’s only alleged victim. Another student, who graduated in 2006, told Outside the Lines that he “repeatedly engaged in inappropriate behavior.” Additionally, a former UC Berkeley instructor said she approached athletic department officials after a few students told her of Muqtar's behavior, but she was told that nothing could be done unless the women came forward.
Regarding her decision to go public, Clarendon said she no longer wanted to carry around the shame from the abuse. She wants him to carry it, and she hopes to stop him from harming anyone else, she said.
"My biggest hope is that he never does this to anyone else. 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,” Clarendon said, according to Outside the Lines. “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."