Baylor University Lawsuit Cites 52 Rapes in Four Year Span

Baylor University

On Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, a former Baylor University student filed a lawsuit against the school citing that 52 rapes had taken place between 2011 and 2014. According to a former student, who is being identified under the assumed name, Elizabeth Doe, she was gang raped by two football players on April 28, 2013, after a party.

Doe identified Tre’Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman as the athletes who committed the sexual assault. These two students were suspected in a similar case by police. However, no charges were filed. Doe graduated from the University in 2014 and is suing the school for Title IX abuse and negligence. David E. Garland, provisional president of the University, released a statement after the initial filing of the lawsuit.

He stated, “Our hearts go out to any victims of sexual assaults.” Any assault by any members of the campus is inexcusable. The president expressed he was appalled at hearing this news. Baylor University has taken necessary action to resolve this problem from the past and ensures the campus community that any further issues will be dealt with promptly.

John Clune, Doe’s attorney, who filed the suit, acknowledges that the efforts put forth by the University to bring an end to the problem. However, this is a case that had to be pursued. In a public statement, Clune said although it is hard for everyone to hear what occurred at Baylor, there were far worse events that happened which were not reported.

Baylor University received a complaint against Chatman, who was accused of raping a student trainer in his off-campus apartment, and the school neglected to take disciplinary action. However, they did transfer the female student to an all-girls team. Moreover, they told her they would pay her tuition; in a non-disclosure agreement.

According to the indictment, Art Briles, who was the football coach hired to pull the team out of the last place position, enforced a “show ’em a good time,” policy. His son Kendal was hired as the assistant coach. He was reported after asking a former recruit if “he liked to date white girls because Baylor University has plenty of them and they loved being with the football players.”

An investigation by the lawyers concluded that the 52 rapes, which included five gang rapes had occurred and included over 30 football players. It is believed at least 10 athletes were involved in the gang rapes.

The campus provided documentation from a Pennsylvania law office by Pepper Hamilton, which differs slightly from the lawsuit. The lawyer was looking into how Baylor University approached sexual assaults on school grounds, and reported to the Wall Street Journal in Oct. 2016, that 17 women were victims of domestic violence or rape and at least four gang rapes had occurred. A total of 19 members of the football team were involved. The documents on sexual assault dated back to 2011.  A University spokesperson, Tanya Lewis, refused to comment on the study from Hamilton, the non-disclosure or knowledge of Chatman’s prior assault charge.

Clune stands by the results of his investigation, stating he was very thorough. Doe’s attorney has represented four other victims at Baylor University, calling them all survivors. Two of his clients received settlements from the University. Clune said they have no way of knowing how exactly Hamilton received her numbers, or if it was even her assignment. He said, one thing was certain, it did not contain accurate facts.

According to attorney Ernest Cannon, for former head coach Briles, he was fired in May of 2016 when the scandal first broke. He maintains that his client had no knowledge of the hush-money or any of the 52 rape cases.

Doe’s lawsuit alleges the recruiting staff at Baylor University carried out it “show ’em a good time” policy to enlist top athletes for the school. The policy lead players to organize parties that included illegal narcotics, women, and alcohol when recruiters were in town. The young rookies were brought to strip clubs and bars with scouts picking up the tab. This staff was not only responsible for enforcing the policy but fully encouraged it. According to one of the recruits, the coaches arranged for two women to engage in sexual activities in his hotel room and that of another player during their visit.

Officials at Baylor University has acknowledged only 17 of the 52 rapes reported in the lawsuit but is now fully committed to ensuring a much safer environment for all students.

By Katherine Miller
Edited by Cathy Milne

Sources:

CBS.com: Former Baylor University student files new lawsuit alleging rape
News Channel 25 ABC news: Lawsuit: ’52 acts of rape’ committed at Baylor in four years span
Dallas news: New Baylor lawsuit alleges 52 rapes by football players in 4 years ‘show ’em a good time’ culture

Featured Image Courtesy of Edith OSB’s Flickr Page – Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of Mark Bonica’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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