Just when you thought it was impossible for the Baylor football program to be cast in a more negative light than it already has, yet another report surfaces to do just that.
Just days after BU regents received a law firm’s report on the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations involving football players, Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach, reporting for ESPN‘s Outside the Lines, have unleashed a damning report that details several allegations of sexual assaults not previously known. The report not only calls into question the actions and/or motives of members of the football staff, including head football coach Art Briles, but university administrators, president Ken Starr chief among them, the football program’s chaplain and even the Waco police department.
The report is full of startling allegations, three of which appear below:
- In one case from 2011, an assault at an off-campus event in Waco ended with three football players being charged as well as Baylor and Waco police discussing the incident. Waco police, according to documents, took extraordinary steps to keep it from the public view “given the potential high-profile nature of the incident.” According to a police report obtained by Outside the Lines, Waco’s investigating officer asked a commander that “the case be pulled from the computer system so that only persons who had a reason to inquire about the report would be able to access it.” The report was placed in a locked office.
- In one of the recently discovered cases, an alleged victim who was a Baylor student told Outside the Lines that she notified football team chaplain Wes Yeary about what she had reported to Waco police in April 2014: that her boyfriend, a Bears football player, had physically assaulted her on two occasions. The woman said Baylor football coach Art Briles and university President Ken Starr also were told of her allegations. The woman told Outside the Lines that neither Briles nor the university disciplined her ex-boyfriend.
- In April 2012, a woman told Waco police that when she tried to break up with her boyfriend, Baylor cornerback Tyler Stephenson, he twice lured her to his apartment and then, according to the report, violently restrained her, refusing to let her leave or let her use her phone. “He then pushed me on the couch and wrestled me for my phone so that I couldn’t call for help,” she told police. Once outside, she said she tried again to call 911, when “he charged me and picked me up and threw me against the [exterior] apartment wall. I hit my head and immediately felt dizzy,” and she screamed for help.After pulling the woman’s hair and trying to take her phone in the parking lot, Stephenson fled after three men started to approach him, according to the police report. Police spoke to a witness who saw the two fighting outside and confirmed the woman’s account. An officer prepared an arrest warrant for Stephenson but closed the case when the woman did not return several phone messages.
While the OTL report is extensive and lengthy, it’s well worth your time to read in full (HERE) as it further advances an alarming storyline that’s developed over the last several months — one that the university and the university’s head football coach will have to, at some point, answer for publicly.
In early April, the same program reported that the university essentially ignored for two years a woman’s complaint that she was sexually assaulted by two Bears football players. One of those players, Tre’Von Armstead, was expelled from BU in February of this year — he was dismissed from the team in September of last year — after the university determined that the female victim in the 2013 incident “was too drunk to consent to sex and that Armstead should have known that.”
In late March, a different woman filed a lawsuit against Baylor in which she claims she was raped by a Bear football player, Tevin Elliott, and that the university was “deliberately indifferent to complaints by student victims of rape.”
In 2014, Elliott was convicted of sexually assaulting another different BU student at a party in 2012 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Elliott’s conviction, OTL reported in January, came after he was accused of either rape or assault five other times from October of 2009 to April of 2012 while he was still a member of the football program. In the OTL report, one of Elliott’s alleged victims, identified only as “Tanya,” alleges that the university essentially ignored allegations because the sexual assault happened off-campus and, in her mind, a football player was involved.
One of the more disturbing portions of the report was that, two weeks before “Tanya” was raped by Elliott, another woman, identified as “Kim,” had filed a police report accusing Elliott of sexually assaulting her.
In addition to Elliott, former Bear football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a BU student in October of 2013 following the Homecoming win over Iowa State and was sentenced to 10 years felony probation. In December of last year, the victim in that case reached a settlement with the university.
And finally, reports surfaced in mid-April of this year that the Waco Police are investigating a “prominent Baylor football player” for alleged sexual assault. That player turned out to be Shawn Oakman, the star defensive lineman who is now busy preparing for the 2016 NFL draft.
“It’s a situation where it’s a concern and it’s something we’re dealing with on a daily basis,” Briles was quoted as saying in the middle of April.
The way this story is unfolding, it’s hard to see how several powerful people at the university, including Briles and Starr, can keep their respective jobs when it’s all said and done. Then again, as long as the Bears keep winning on the field, maybe that’s all that really matters off of it?