Title IX suit alleges up to eight Baylor football players drugged and gang-raped a student

Title IX suit alleges up to eight Baylor football players drugged and gang-raped a student
Source: AP
Source: AP

A former Baylor University student has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school for allegedly discouraging her from reporting her sexual assault, which involved as many as eight football players gang-raping her in 2012.

According to the Waco Tribune Herald, the rape was considered a "bonding experience" for the football team, whose hazing traditions reportedly involved having freshman players bring female classmates to their parties to be drugged and raped. The Title IX lawsuit — Baylor University's seventh in total — also claims that the football players photographed and video recorded two other female students being gang-raped by their teammates, circulating at least one 21-second clip amongst the team.

"These girls affected by this are seeking their day in court," the plaintiff's attorney Muhammad Aziz told the outlet. "Really, what we are seeking to enforce is just a safe education environment for the girls at the school."

Former Baylor University head football coach Art Briles
Source: 
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

In the suit, Jane Doe alleges that when she brought news of her rapes to then-head coach Art Briles he was "unfazed" and shared the details of the assault with her volleyball coach. Later, when he learned the names of the players allegedly involved in the gang-rape, he reportedly said, "Those are some bad dudes ... why was she around those guys?"

Doe said Briles' reported apathy about his players' alleged crimes — coupled with university officials' alleged "effort to dissuade" her from reporting her rape —  left her vulnerable to the football team's further harassment and abuse.

Baylor University axed Briles, who'd coached at Baylor since 2008, in May 2016 following the release of a report detailing university officials' failure to comply with Title IX procedures in other cases.

Doe's suit further claims that Baylor football players harassed both her and her family via text message, burglarized her apartment and then tried to defend the burglary by falsely accusing Doe of stealing their dog.

"There are significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor's football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student athlete misconduct."

In the report that ended Briles' tenure, which was written by external auditors at the firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, the lawyers identified "specific failings" on the part of the football team's leadership, who they said failed to "identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player and to a report of dating violence."

The aftermath of the damning report also saw the resignation of Baylor University's athletic director, Ian McCaw, and the demotion of the university's president, Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor behind the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

"There are significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor's football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student athlete misconduct," lawyers continued.

According to Deadspin, a lawsuit claims that between 2011 and 2014, at least 31 separate football players committed 52 "acts of rape," five of which involved gang rape. 

Former Baylor President Ken Starr
Source: 
LM Otero/AP

In response to the lawsuit, university officials released a statement saying they have been trying to work with Doe's lawyer, Aziz for "many months" in attempts to resolve this latest case.

"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 statement said, according to the Herald

"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."

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Marie Solis

Marie is a staff writer with a focus in feminist issues. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.

One woman living in R Kelly’s alleged “sex cult” says everything is fine. That doesn’t mean it is.

Jocelyn Savage says she's "happy" and "totally fine" in her arrangement with R. Kelly. Experts say that's common behavior among abuse survivors.

Black women warned us about R Kelly's behavior for years. Was nobody listening?

Black women and girls have been telling people for years about the singer's behavior. And yet too few people have deigned to listen.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.

One woman living in R Kelly’s alleged “sex cult” says everything is fine. That doesn’t mean it is.

Jocelyn Savage says she's "happy" and "totally fine" in her arrangement with R. Kelly. Experts say that's common behavior among abuse survivors.

Black women warned us about R Kelly's behavior for years. Was nobody listening?

Black women and girls have been telling people for years about the singer's behavior. And yet too few people have deigned to listen.