The dean of the law school of the University of California, Berkeley, sexually harassed his executive assistant over a period of several months, and then was allowed to stay on the job out of concern for his career after an internal investigation found her sexual harassment complaints to be justified, according to a lawsuit announced Wednesday.
The assistant, Tyann Sorrell, 41, said in papers filed Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court, that the dean, Sujit Choudhry, hugged and kissed her almost daily, while she was at her desk and sometimes in public from September 2014 until March 2015.
“If you think of maybe the last person on earth who would do this, you would think it would be the dean of one of the most prestigious law schools in the country,” John D. Winer, her lawyer, said Wednesday.
In a statement, Mr. Choudhry said that he disagrees with the allegations and will defend against them. He said he will take a leave of absence so the lawsuit does not become a distraction for the school and the community.
In recent years, many universities, including Berkeley, have adopted strict policies about sexual misconduct and taken steps to train everyone from staff to students in how to prevent it.