A scandal surrounding widespread sexual assaults involving the Baylor University football team goes even deeper than initially thought, according to information uncovered by ESPN’s Outside the Lines (OTL) that was revealed Thursday.
Documents show that police officers in Waco, Texas, along with head football coach Art Briles and other university officials, were aware of at least some of the physical and sexual assault allegations made against numerous players but did not take disciplinary action or fully investigate all allegations and, in some instances, even covered up information.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegramreported on Thursday that the university is considering firing Briles.
One sexual assault case involving a former star player from the team has remained “open” in the Waco police department, meaning, per Texas open case laws, details of the case are concealed from the public. The victim had made allegations against other people in different instances, and, in a separate case, Waco police officers describe the victim as “deceptive.”
OTL previously reported how the university failed to adequately investigate sexual assault allegations made against football players, despite being required to by federal law, Title IX. In one instance, a freshman identified only as Tanya to protect her identity reported to Waco police that a player named Tevin Elliott raped her. In Tanya’s case, Elliott was charged with sexual assault and eventually expelled. Tanya was one of several women to report being raped or sexually assaulted by Elliott over roughly a two-and-a-half year period.
However, the university failed to provide Tanya with adequate security, also required by law, telling her there was nothing they could do for her because her assault did not take place on campus. And when Tanya sought out counseling services, she was once again denied and told she could put her name on a waiting list. When Tanya’s mother got involved and contacted the school seeking academic assistance for her daughter, who was struggling with her final exams, the academic services group told her there was no one available to help Tanya, and even “if a plane falls on your daughter, there’s nothing we can do to help you.”
Another woman, identified as Kim, also reported being sexually assaulted by Elliott. She and her mother met with Baylor’s Chief Judicial Officer Bethany McCraw, who told Kim she was the sixth woman to report being assaulted by Elliott.
“We essentially asked, ‘Well, why are there six’ and, ‘Well, does the football team know about this Does Art Briles know about this'” Kim recalled. “And she said, ‘Yes, they know about it, but it turns into a he said-she said, so there’s got to be, actually a court decision in order to act on it in any sort of way.'”
Kim also felt McCraw was not helpful when she inquired about a restraining order against Elliott. McCraw told Kim that it would just be a letter telling Elliott not to go near Kim, “and then you kind of hope for the best.”
In August, defensive end Sam Ukwuachu, who faced up to 20 years in jail for a 2013 sexual assault, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation in a case involving a Baylor soccer player. During his trial, it was revealed that the university’s internal investigation had cleared Ukwuachu.
But according to McLennan County Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde, the school’s “investigation” was not up to par.
“I wouldn’t call it an investigation,” LaBorde, who prosecuted both Elliott and Ukwuachu’s cases, said. “They didn’t have someone that seemed to know anything about how college rape occurs.”
Baylor also did not follow directives from the U.S. Department of Education in regards to Title IX requirements. In April 2011, all colleges and universities were told that, by federal law, they had to have a Title IX coordinator on staff. Baylor did not comply with this for more than three years, at which time they finally hired someone.
An independent law firm, Pepper Hamilton, began a review of the university’s response to sexual assault allegations in the fall of 2015.
The report for the review is not yet complete but the university received last week a preliminary report, which officials are not required to make public. According to astatement from Baylor, upon the completion of the report, “The members of the board will be guided by their faith as they make significant decisions for the welfare of Baylor students, the direction of the institution and the good of Baylor Nation.”