Baylor University has finally settled a years-long federal lawsuit over several allegations of sexual assault. A total of 15 women came forward in the lawsuit, claiming that they had been the victims of sexual assault, which ultimately led to the termination of the school’s president and football coach and damaged the Baptist school’s reputation.
The initial lawsuit was filed in 2016, and notification of the settlement was apparently filed in online court records on Monday.
The Associated Press reported that the lawsuit was one of several that claimed staff and administrators on campus either ignored or concealed reports from women who said they were assaulted on or around campus.
Some of the women in the lawsuit suggested that school officials used the campus conduct code — which included the banning of alcohol, drugs, and sex before marriage — to keep the women from reporting what they allegedly experienced.
A separate lawsuit alleged that Baylor University was a “hunting ground for sexual predators.”
Though the lawsuit was settled, the details of the settlement were not revealed.
“We are deeply sorry for anyone connected with the Baylor community who has been harmed by sexual violence. While we can never erase the reprehensible acts of the past, we pray that this agreement will allow these 15 survivors to move forward in a supportive manner,” the university said in a statement.
The scandal initially came to light in 2015 and 2016 after there were allegations of assault carried out by members of the football team. As a result, the university hired Pepper Hamilton to carry out an independent investigation into what had allegedly happened.
The law firm determined that the university failed to sufficiently respond to accusations of sexual assault involving football players over a period of several years. It also raised important questions about how the school responded to assault allegations across the whole campus.
Former school President Ken Starr, who led the investigation of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky debacle, was soon removed as the leader of the university. He died in 2022, per the report.
The university also fired former football coach Art Briles, who denied having attempted to cover up sexual violence in his program. Though he did lead the program to a Big 12 title, he has not returned to coaching a major college or university.
Chad Dunn, an attorney for the women who settled, suggested that the lawsuit stretched far beyond just the football program at the university.
“Their bravery and strength has created legal precedents that empower others to gain relief from the injuries inflicted by their universities, while also securing safer education environments for future generations,” Dunn said.
“Baylor’s focus of media attention on football tried to misdirect attention from institutional failures of the Baylor administration. Our clients would have none of that. Their determination brought the focus on officials in the ivory tower and ‘the Baylor way.’”
Baylor University reaches settlement in Title IX lawsuit
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Author: Collin Jones
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