Baylor University can’t seem to dig itself out of the football program mess it created as it finds itself named in another massive lawsuit this week.
A former Baylor women’s volleyball player who said she was gang-raped by multiple football players back in 2012 filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school on Tuesday. According to ESPN, the lawsuit the plaintiff and her attorneys filed contradicts multiple statements from school officials about her alleged assault.
The lawsuit argues members of the team did the following:
“Already developed a system of hazing their freshman recruits by having them bring or invite freshman females to house parties hosted by members of the football team. At these parties, the girls would be drugged and gang raped, or in the words of the football players, ‘trains’ would be run on the girls.”
This assault in question was the main focus of an investigation conducted by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton into how Baylor handled the sexual assault allegations committed by students. It also looked into what head coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw knew about the gang rape at the center of the lawsuit.
The new lawsuit also states there are photos and videos of “semi-conscious” girls being assault that were sent throughout the team. It specifically says there is a 21-second video of two female students being gang-raped by football players.
“Simply put, Baylor football under Briles had run wild, in more ways than one, and Baylor was doing nothing to stop it,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday has already received a response from Baylor:
“The alleged incident outlined in the court filing occurred more than five years ago, and Baylor University has been in conversations with the victim’s legal counsel for many months in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution,” a Baylor spokesman said in a statement Wednesday. “Baylor has since initiated and structurally completed 105 wide-ranging recommendations in response to issues of sexual violence within our campus community, in addition to making changes within the university and athletics leadership and investing significantly in student support services.”
This lawsuit isn’t the first federal Title IX lawsuit filed against Baylor. In fact, it’s the seventh and together, they involve 15 different women.
“As this case proceeds, Baylor maintains its ability to present facts — as available to the University — in response to the allegations contained in the legal filing. The University’s response in no way changes Baylor’s position that any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable,” the Baylor spokesman said. “Baylor remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community.”
The woman who filed the new lawsuit this week is a former Baylor volleyball player and is being identified as Jane Doe to protect her identity. The lawsuit describes how both her and her parents never “indicated that they did not want to report the assault to judicial affairs or to police.” That directly contradicts statements from Baylor and others that the woman refused to pursue her case.
“Instead, plaintiff and her parents were told that it was too late for criminal charges and they begged plaintiff’s head coach and the assistant volleyball coach to tell them what, if anything, Baylor could do about the assault,” the lawsuit says.
The alleged assault occurred on February 11th, 2012, according to the lawsuit, at an off-campus party inside a football player’s apartment. There the plaintiff was drinking and thinks she was drugged as well. She kept saying no when one player tried to pull her into the bathroom and another kept trying to grab her.
The lawsuit then goes onto say that when Jane Doe’s friends left, a player picked her up, put her in a car, and drove her to the location where at least four players “brutally gang raped” her.
“Plaintiff remembers lying on her back, unable to move and staring at glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling as the football players took turns raping her,” the lawsuit says. “Following the gang rape, plaintiff remembers hearing the players yell, ‘Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!'”
“During our investigation, we found one eyewitness who saw her being carried up into an apartment,” the woman’s attorney, Muhammad Aziz of Houston, told ESPN on Wednesday. “After the incident, people told her what happened. At that point, she didn’t know exactly how many people were involved.”
After the alleged assault, multiple Baylor players subjected the plaintiff to “verbal abuse and public humiliation” and sent text messages to her saying she “wanted it” along with “taunts” that they had nude photos of her, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff and her attorneys make it clear in the lawsuit that her mother contacted an assistant coach in July of 2012 while school officials have stated they didn’t hear about the incident until April 0f 2013. The school says in April of 2013 the plaintiff told her then volleyball head coach Jim Barnes about the assault.
It’s important to note the lawsuit states when the mother spoke with the assistant football coach, she didn’t disclose her daughter’s name, but did give the coach the names of the players involved.
“Plaintiff’s mother asked the assistant football coach what, if anything, Baylor could do about the assault,” the lawsuit says. “Not surprisingly, plaintiff’s mother never heard from the assistant football coach again.”
To make matters worse for the school, the lawsuit makes it clear when Barnes told Briles about the incident by showing him a piece of payer with the player’s names, Briles said “Those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?”
From there, neither Barnes nor Briles reported the incident to judicial affairs. Instead, AD McCaw told Barnes it was up to the plaintiff/athlete at the time to take action and that if she didn’t press charges, the school couldn’t do much.
The lawsuit then goes on to say that after the assistant coach met with the players from her mother’s list, they began to retaliate against her and made up fake phone numbers to harass her and her family. After that, she then ended up in a class with the two players and had to “put her earphones in and listen to music just to make it through class each week,” the lawsuit states.
This is where the school gets into deeper trouble. Just like with several other reports of women seeking counseling for the assaults at Baylor, the counselor who spoke with the plaintiff at Baylor never told her about her options under Title IX. This was all happening while the plaintiff continued to suffer different forms of abuse from the players.
“The lawsuit states that the same football player and his teammates broke into her apartment, threw her clothes and belongings all over the room and stole money and a necklace in April 2013. She reported the burglary to Waco, Texas, police, but none of the athletes faced charges “on the pretext that the Waco Police Department made the players return plaintiff’s belongings,” the lawsuit states.”
When Jane Doe went on a mission trip to Africa in May of 2013, the abuse continued. The trip was led by football chaplain Wes Yeary, who the woman also spoke with about the gang rape. Two football players, one of who was involved in the assault, were on the trip, and while on the trip, Jane Doe was told that up to eight players were involved in the alleged gang rape.
The forms of abuse that have been directed towards Doe have continued into 2016. The lawsuit filed Tuesday states that when details of the assault were included in the Pepper Hamilton investigation’s findings of fact, Baylor officials tried to contact the plaintiff and prevent her from speaking to reporters.