Three Women Join Title IX Lawsuit Against Baylor
June 26, 2016
Three more women joined a Title IX lawsuit against Baylor University in Waco’s U.S. District Court on Tuesday, claiming the school did not properly investigate and respond to their claims of sexual assault.
Waco attorney Jim Dunnam filed a lawsuit June 15 naming Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 as plaintiffs. The lawsuit now lists Jane Doe 4, Jane Doe 5 and Jane Doe 6.
Dunnam said Baylor’s “deliberate indifference” to investigating alleged sexual assaults also deprived the three new plaintiffs of their rights.
“I think there’s definitely a level . . . of denial out there,” Dunnam said. “That also may be a way to describe it. An attitude of, ‘This just can’t happen. This doesn’t happen (at Baylor).’ ”
A Baylor spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The university faces three Title IX lawsuits amid a scandal that led to the removal of Ken Starr as president and Art Briles as head football coach. Ian McCaw also resigned as athletics director.
Baylor already has reached a settlement with at least one sexual assault survivor. The school reached an undisclosed agreement last year with a former student-athlete who former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of raping in 2013.
Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, in an investigation paid for by Baylor, found a “fundamental failure” at all levels of the university to respond to sexual assault.
A fellow Baylor student sexually assaulted Doe 4 in April 2014, the lawsuit states. She survived a suicide attempt days later, then reached out to friends, the lawsuit states.
Doe 4 revealed details of the assault to Baylor counselors in June 2014, according to the lawsuit. The school offered her no Title IX remedies and took no action against the assailant she named, the lawsuit states. Doe 4 also reported the incident to Baylor Judicial Affairs, but no action was taken, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Doe 4 suffered physically and emotionally until she graduated in May 2015.
“The lack of knowledgeable staff and then limited existence of a Title IX office substantially impaired Jane Doe 4’s higher education experience and has severely impaired her physical and mental health and well-being,” the lawsuit states.
Doe 5 was assaulted in November 2005, shortly after enrolling at Baylor, the lawsuit states. While visiting a Baylor medical clinic for an unrelated matter, Doe 5 reported the assault to the physician and asked for an HIV test, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states she received the test but was not asked about the assault. Doe 5 told a friend about the incident, and the friend said the assailant had reportedly sexually assaulted three or four others, according to the lawsuit.
‘Not to come forward’
After she reported the incident to a Baylor counselor, “the counselor advised Jane Doe 5 not to come forward for the stated reason that doing so would stress her out too much and instead she should focus on school,” the lawsuit states.
The counselor also told her that friends, family and classmates would be made aware of the incident if she came forward, according to the lawsuit.
In February 2006, Doe 5 was told by Waco police an investigation would not happen because too much time had passed, the lawsuit states. She gave a written report to police days later and did not hear back, according to the lawsuit.
Doe 5 also suffered emotionally and lost financial aid after failing a class, according to the lawsuit. She graduated in December 2009 from the University of Texas at Arlington but still faces upward of $50,000 in student debt from Baylor, the lawsuit says.
Doe 6 enrolled at Baylor in the fall of 2005 and was sexually assaulted during her junior year after being drugged at an off-campus bar, the lawsuit says.
After reporting to a professor, Doe 6 also reported to a physician, whose examination “confirmed that forcible sexual incident had occurred,” the lawsuit says.
She then reported to Baylor police, but police refused to take a report, the lawsuit says, and she was not informed of any accommodations available from the university.
“In June 2013, Jane Doe 6 sent a letter to the university president regarding the mistreatment of her sexual assault report, but no response was received,” the lawsuit states.
“I think you could also characterize what we’ve seen with these six young ladies is a level of indifference and/or denial that (Baylor) just refuses to acknowledge,” Dunnam said. “The first reaction is, ‘Oh, well, no, there must be some explanation. That doesn’t happen in our school.’ ”
Ukwuachu is one of two Baylor football players who have been convicted of sexual assault since 2014. Tevin Elliott was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a sexual assault charge. Multiple women have said Elliott raped them and Baylor mishandled their reports.
Doe 1 reported that a football player assaulted her in April 2014, according to the lawsuit.
Others have been named in Waco police reports alleging physical and sexual violence. Shawn Oakman, a player on Baylor’s 2015 team, was arrested on a sexual assault charge in April.
Jacob Anderson was arrested on a sexual assault charge in March while he was president of a Baylor fraternity and has since been indicted. A former tennis player also is named as the lone suspect in a sexual assault case, according to an August 2015 Waco police report.
Baylor hired its first full-time Title IX coordinator in November 2014, three years after the U.S. Department of Education reminded universities to have the position.
Baylor recently announced task forces and implementation teams to enact 105 recommendations presented by Pepper Hamilton.