Former Cal women’s basketball player Layshia Clarendon has filed a lawsuit in the Alameda County Superior Court against the UC Board of Regents, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by an employee in the athletic department.
As first reported by ESPN, Clarendon claims she was assaulted by Mohamed Muqtar when she was an 18-year-old freshman in 2009. According to ESPN’s story, Clarendon accompanied Muqtar into his apartment, where he allegedly assaulted her after following her into the bathroom.
Muqtar, 61, is the director of student services for Cal Athletics. He has been part of the athletic department for more than 25 years and graduated from Cal in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Muqtar is named as a defendant.
Cal Athletics released a statement in the wake of this news, “but has not received a copy of the lawsuit nor had the benefit of reviewing the allegations,” according to ESPN.
“Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected,” said 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 took to Twitter to discuss the lawsuit in the form of three separate tweets:
1) “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.
2) “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. #TimesUp
3) 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.
Last year, Clarendon contributed to the “Athletes United” project, joining five other professional athletes to fight against sexual assault. Clarendon wrote an essay where she shared her experiences on the matter.
“I walked alone in my shame for years,” Clarendon wrote in the essay. “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. 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.”
Clarendon did not provide specifics on the incident nor name Muqtar in the essay.
“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, in an ESPN article. “What happened to Layshia is reprehensible and disgusting and should not happen to any woman ever again.”
ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” spoke with an additional former Cal student-athlete as well who also alleged a history of inappropriate behavior conducted by Muqtar. The female student, a 2006 graduate, told teammates and support staff, but she did not officially report the behavior.
Additionally, ESPN spoke with a former Cal instructor who often worked with student-athletes. According to the instructor, multiple student-athletes told her about inappropriate behavior. The instructor discussed her concerns with athletic department officials twice, but in both instances, the instructor was told no steps could be taken unless the women came forward themselves with details.
The former student-athlete requested anonymity because she has yet to tell her family about the alleged abuse, while the former Cal instructor requested anonymity to protect the student-athletes who entrusted her with the information.
Clarendon played for Cal from 2009 to 2013, helping to lead the Bears to their only Final Four appearance during her senior year. She currently plays for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and was named an All-Star this past season.