‘Like the Catholic Church’: Documents reveal UC Berkeley covered up widespread sexual harassment

The University of California at Berkeley is now engulfed in a public scandal, after a sexual harassment lawsuit and public records requests revealed a history of coverups and poor handling.

Tyann Sorrell, a former UC Berkeley law school assistant, is suing over alleged harassment by former dean Sujit Choudhry. In turn, The San Francisco Chronicle launched a public records request, obtaining over 400 pages of documents going back to 2008.

As an example of a story that had not previously been made public, UC Berkeley swim coach Todd Mulzet was alleged to have harassed a male co-worker throughout 2014 and 2015, including offering him $300 for oral sex — resulting only in a pay cut for Mulzet.

Choudhry was initially only penalized with a 10 percent pay cut for a single year — still getting paid $373,500 — and was required to apologize and to receive counseling. He ultimately had to resign, however, when the case became public this past March — but is continuing to receive a $284,000 salary as a professor.

“I’m shocked at what appears to have been a deliberate suppression of years of sexual abuse and harassment information on the part of executive level at UC Berkeley,” Sorrell said in a statement. “I worked on that campus since 2012 and never heard anything about any of these cases.”

“Like the Catholic Church, they’ve hidden the problem,” said Sorrell's attorney John Winer. “Why is it that it took a (public records) request to turn up an additional 12 findings of sexual harassment that we didn’t know about?”