New Baylor University Lawsuit Alleges 52 Rapes by Football Players in 4 Years

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A Baylor University graduate who says she was raped by football players in 2013 sued the university Friday. Her lawsuit includes an allegation that 31 Baylor football players committed at least 52 acts of rape, including five gang rapes, between 2011 and 2014 — an estimate that far exceeds the number previously provided by school officials. 

Those figures could not be independently verified Friday, and Baylor officials declined to comment on their accuracy.

The woman, identified in the suit by the pseudonym Elizabeth Doe, reports being gang raped by then-Baylor football players Tre’Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman after a party on April 18, 2013.

Those football players were previously named as suspects in a sexual assault police report on that date but were not charged. They could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

The woman, a 2014 graduate of Baylor, is now suing the university for Title IX violations and negligence.

“Our hearts go out to any victims of sexual assault,” interim university president David E. Garland said in a statement late Friday. “Any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable. Baylor University has taken unprecedented actions that have been well-documented in response to the issue of past and alleged sexual assaults involving our campus community.”

John Clune, the Colorado attorney who represents the woman, said he appreciated what Baylor has done to try to fix its sexual assault problem, but “this is one that needed to be filed.”

“As hard as the events at Baylor have been for people to hear, what went on there was much worse than has been reported,” he said in a statement.

One of the woman’s alleged attackers — Chatman — was accused of rape once before, the suit says, but the university failed to intervene. In that case, the suit says, a student athletic trainer reported that Chatman raped her at his off-campus apartment, so the university moved the trainer to a female sports team and agreed to pay for her education in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement.

‘Show ’em a good time’

The lawsuit describes a culture of sexual violence under former Baylor football coach Art Briles in which the school implemented a “show ’em a good time” policy that “used sex to sell” the football program to recruits. That included escorting underage recruits to strip clubs and arranging women to have sex with prospective players, the suit alleges.

Former assistant coach Kendal Briles — the son of the head coach — once told a Dallas-area student athlete, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players,” according to the suit.

Investigation by lawyers identified at least 52 “acts of rape,” including five gang rapes, by 31 football players in a four-year period. At least two of the gang rapes were committed by 10 or more players at one time, the suit states.

This contrasts with figures Baylor officials have provided based on an investigation by Pennsylvania-based law firm Pepper Hamilton, which looked into how Baylor handled sexual assault on campus. Regents told The Wall Street Journal in October that they were aware of 17 women who reported sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 players, including four alleged gang rapes, since 2011.

Tonya Lewis, a Baylor spokeswoman, declined to answer specific questions about Baylor’s knowledge of the prior alleged sexual assault by Chatman or the alleged non-disclosure agreement. She also declined to comment on the scope of the Pepper Hamilton investigation or whether the university stands by the numbers it originally provided.

Clune, who has represented four Baylor survivors, including two who received settlements with the university, defended the thoroughness of his investigation.

“We have no idea how the regents came up with their numbers, but they do not represent the total number of assaults,” he said. “I’m not sure that was Pepper’s assignment either.”

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SOURCE: Sarah Mervosh
Dallas News