Remember the case of the UC Berkeley assistant professor who in April was accused of sexually harassing three grad students? No, not this guy, this guy, this guy, or even that guy. Rather, Blake Wentworth — the South and Southeast Asian Studies assistant professor who stands accused of various forms of sexual harassment. Well, the Chronicle now reports that Wentworth has turned the tables and filed lawsuits both against his three accusers and UC Berkeley itself.
In a suit filed last week, Wentworth accused two of the women, doctoral students Erin Bennett and Kathleen Gutierrez, of defamation. Just a few days before, on September 20, he filed yet another defamation suit against his third accuser, Nicole Hemenway. And, in a third suit filed yesterday against the university, he alleged school officials are guilty of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in response to his depression and bipolar disorder.
Bennett first reported Wentworth's alleged inappropriate behavior to the school in late 2014, but no immediate action was taken. Gutierrez told the Chronicle earlier this year that Wentworth would get her alone and tell her about drugs, sex, and strip clubs. Sometimes, Gutierrez says he would touch her while doing so — despite her requests that he stop.
A 2015 internal UC Berkeley investigation determined that Wentworth had violated the school's sexual harassment policy in the case of Gutierrez, but not Bennett. This is despite the fact that the claims made by Bennett were similar in nature to those made by Gutierrez.
Wentworth, who denies the charges, is seeking unspecified monetary damages from the school and alleging that school officials harassed him. When asked by the Chronicle, UC Regents spokesperson Dianne Klein said she had not had enough time to read the suit in order to make a statement.