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UC Berkeley Law School Dean Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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(UC Berkeley Law School)

(UC Berkeley Law School)

BERKELEY, Calif. (Diya TV) — Sujit Choudhry, dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s prestigious law school, is taking an “indefinite leave of absence” from his position after a lawsuit filed against him from his former executive assistant alleged claims of sexual harassment.

The complaint was filed Tuesday against Choudhry and the University of California Board of Regents. Amongst the allegations are claims that Choudhry made inappropriate advances towards the woman, and retaliation and failure to stop the sexual harassment.

Tyann Sorrell, the former executive assistant and 41-year-old mother of five, claims in her complaint that from a period between September 2014 to March 2015, Choudhry sexually harassed her — rubbing her shoulders and arms, kissing her cheeks and giving her bear hugs that pressed her body against him, according to court documents. “Choudhry’s kissing and hugging Plaintiff was a near daily occurrence, Choudhry’s conduct made Plaintiff feel disgusted, humiliated, exposed and dirty,” the lawsuit states.

Sujit Choudhry University of California Berkeley via AP

Sujit Choudhry University of California Berkeley via AP

Soon thereafter, the lawsuit claims the harassment became more frequent — on a daily basis — and much more explicit. “The hugs became tighter and more lingering and the kissing more intimate in that over time Choudhry’s kisses began to land closer and closer” to her mouth, according to the court documents.

“She wondered what she had done to make him think it was OK for him to touch her,” according to the documents. “She was worried about her reputation and what her work colleagues thought of her. At the same time, she worried about upsetting him and possibly losing her job, on which her family depended.”

Additionally, Sorrell claims in her suit that she is a past victim of domestic and sexual abuse. When the situation in her workplace began, it ushered in a pattern of anxiousness and depression — causing her to lose sleep and dread her going to work. She said she suffered “insomnia, hair loss, depression and anxiety” as a result.

Choudhry, 46, could not be reached for comment. However, a UC Berkeley spokesman told Diya TV that Choudhry formally announced he would resign a day after the university imposed his indefinite leave of absence.

Sorrell began working at the university in 2012, and the lawsuit states she made multiple complaints to her superiors regarding Choudhry’s alleged conduct. It took the university months to investigate her claims, the lawsuit states. Berkeley’s internal investigation concluded in July, and determined by a preponderance of evidence that the dean had violated the university’s sexual harassment policy.

“A thorough investigation of this case found that Dean Choudhry’s behavior in this situation violated policy,” university Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele said. “He demonstrated a failure to understand the power dynamic and the effect of his actions on the plaintiff personally and in her employment.

“Based on the findings of the investigation I believed that a combination of disciplinary actions, monitoring of his behavior and formal training would be an appropriate and effective response, and would produce the necessary changes in his behavior.”

Berkeley’s law program — widely regarded as one of the nation’s best and brightest — is no stranger to scandal. Specifically, allegations of sexual misconduct against its leaders.

In 2002, then-dean John Dwyer was forced to resign after he was accused of sexually harassing a former student. The story, reported on by the school’s student newspaper, wrote that Dwyer had “admitted to having a single consensual encounter with a student two years ago but denied charges of sexual harassment.”

“I acknowledge that this reflected a serious error in judgment on my part and was inappropriate,” he had written in an internal memo, according to the newspaper. “I believe I can no longer effectively lead the school.”

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Several killed in Kashmir border clash

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Kashmir

KASHMIR, India (Diya TV)  — New military clashes between Pakistan and India along the Kashmir border left several casualties on both sides. The Pakistani army confirmed the killing of two of its soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir. The Indian military confirmed the death of one of its officers and a civilian. Both sides allege the conflict was started by the other.

Raag Singhal, an Indian American circuit court judge in Broward County, Florida, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and will officially become a U.S. District Court judge in South Florida. It’s a lifetime appointment for Singhal, who will act as a trial judge in federal criminal and civil cases.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced Dr. Monisha Ghosh will become the FCC’s Chief Technology Officer, the first woman to serve in that role. Ghosh joins the FCC from the National Science Foundation where she was a program director and the University of Chicago, where she was a research professor.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Historic Sikh temple in Pakistan vandalized, destruction threatened

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Sikh Temple

NANKANA SAHIB, Pakistan (Diya TV)  — Communal tensions are high in Pakistan’s Punjab state after a fiery Muslim mob hurled stones and threatened to destroy the historic Sikh Temple Nankana Sahib Gurdwara, birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Pakistani officials say the situation is under control, and a large police presence is on site. But the men behind the demonstration say their goal is to eradicate Sikhs from the area.

On the order of President Trump, the American military killed Iran’s top military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a missile strike at Baghdad airport. It’s a dramatic move by the Trump Administration who has been threatening action against Iran for their efforts to impede American operations in the Middle East. Iran’s President Rouhani said in reaction ‘we will take revenge’ and their foreign minister said “America’s action without any doubt is an act of state terrorism.” Democrats are up in arms at the move by Trump without Congressional approval. Trump responded by saying “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India’s new army chief reserves right to ‘preemptively strike’

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India’s new army chief reserves right to ‘preemptively strike’ | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV)  — The war of words over Kashmir heated up when India’s new Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said India reserves the right to “preemptively strike” at sources of terror along the Line of Control. Pakistan rejected the statement, saying they would thwart any Indian move.

The only Latino in the Democratic field, Julian Castro, is dropping out of the Presidential race suffering from poor support and a lack of funds to continue in earnest.

Manu Asthana begins the New Year as PJM Interconnection’s President and CEO, a nearly 100 year old power infrastructure business that serves 65 million Americans. But his hiring is not without criticism from consumer watchdogs over Asthana’s previous role as President of Direct Energy Home, accusing him of mismanagement. PJM defended their new hire saying those charges are “misleading” and “unfair.”

Pakistan announced their first batch of fighter jets manufactured with China is ready, celebrating with a group of Pakistani and Chinese officials on hand. The two nations also have a deal for commercial aircraft as well.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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