Just when you thought it couldn’t get any uglier for the Baylor football program, it does.
Tuesday night, Baylor was served notice that it is being sued by a former BU volleyball player, only identified as “Jane Doe,” that she was gang raped by as many as eight then-Bears football players in 2012. This is at least the seventh Federal Title IX lawsuit filed in connection to the sexual assault scandal that rocked the university and cost several high-profile officials their jobs, including head football coach Art Briles, nearly a year ago.
From the Waco Tribune-Herald:
The plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” remembers hearing the players yell, “Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!” following the rape in an off-campus apartment with glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, according to the suit.
According to the suit, the football team had a system of hazing freshman recruits by having them bring freshman females to parties to be drugged and gang raped, “or in the words of the football players, ‘trains’ would be run on the girls.”
Considered a bonding experience by the players, according to the suit, the rapes were also photographed and videotaped, and the plaintiff confirmed that at least one 21-second videotape of two Baylor students being gang raped by football players had circulated.
Just as damning is that the alleged victim informed her mother of the rape, who in turn took the information, including the names of the players allegedly involved, to an unnamed assistant football coach. The mother never heard from the coach again, although she, the victim and other family members heard from the alleged assailants through harassing text messages sent from what was described as fake phone numbers.
The Tribune-Herald went on to write that, “[i]n Baylor counseling sessions, Doe was not presented with Title IX-related reporting options but with statistics about how few women report sexual assaults, ‘in an apparent effort to dissuade’ (Doe from taking action), the suit states.”
This filing comes a little over two months after the Texas Rangers confirmed that it had commenced a preliminary investigation centered on how the university, the football program and campus police handled allegations of sexual assault made against student-athletes, most notably members of the football team. The confirmation of that probe came a little over a month after details in one of the handful of federal lawsuits the university is facing emerged, with that suit alleging 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011; in late March, BU sought to have that suit dismissed.
Outside of the federal lawsuits and Department of Education Title IX investigation, two former Bears football players have been convicted of sexual assault that were committed while they were members of the football team. Several other players were accused of committing either sexual assault or violence — or both — while playing for Briles.
None of Briles’ assistants were dismissed along with the head coach as a result of the scandal even as an independent review into the football program’s handling of sexual assault accusations showed that “members of the Baylor coaching staff chose not to report incidents of sexual violence involving football players, [instead] meeting directly with those filing complaints of sexual abuse and handling their own investigations outside of university policy to discredit the complainants, thus denying them the right to a fair investigation by the university.”
In early February of this year, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”
In response to the latest lawsuit, the university issued the following statement:
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.
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.
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. Baylor remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community.