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Baylor Failed to Properly Handle Reported Assaults, According to Litigation

— February 1, 2018

Baylor Failed to Properly Handle Reported Assaults, According to Litigation

Baylor University has been sued by multiple plaintiffs over claims the school failed to properly handle allegations of rape and sexual assault.  The latest plaintiff, who will remain anonymous, was a female student who enrolled at the University in August 2014.  Identified only as Jane Doe 15, she joined three others in one federal lawsuit brought against the University in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

According to the case filing, Jane Doe 15 was sexually assaulted by another student in February.  She was taken to a nearby hospital where she was administered a rape kit. Waco Police documented the incident.

When the woman was released from the hospital, she, her parents and a professor of hers all reported the assault to Baylor administrators and the university failed to take appropriate action to investigate, according to the lawsuit.  Those who were contacted by the parties included the Baylor Police, a Baylor Chaplain, the Title IX Office, and former Baylor President Ken Starr.

Photo by Hope House Press on Unsplash

At one point, Jane Doe 15 was referred to Associate Vice President for Student Life, Martha Lou Scott, to discuss moving forward with class accommodations, but Scott allegedly said there was nothing the Student Life office could do.  Jane Doe 15 lived in the same off-campus housing unit as her attacker.  She sought relocation help from both the Title IX office and the Chaplain’s office but received no assistance.

The plaintiff said she was told her attacker would be suspended and, if he came back on campus, he would be arrested.  He did indeed return, and the university knew he had, but he was not arrested.  Meanwhile, the Title IX office found her attacker responsible for the assault but took no action.  “The Title IX office also suggested to Jane Doe 15’s mother that she should relocate to Waco to help her daughter get through the assault stating that is what other mothers did,” according to the lawsuit.

Baylor never referred Jane Doe 15 to the Advocacy Center, where she could have received free mental health counseling, and the campus counselor provided appointments which were canceled and never rescheduled.  Jane Doe 15 went an entire month without a session.

“In the Fall of 2016, Jane Doe 15’s counselor left the school stating she could not do her best work for victims at Baylor,” the lawsuit said.

All of the Jane Does in the lawsuit have claimed that Baylor representatives lied to them, misled them, failed to protect the victims, and failed to properly investigate cases.  In fact, according to the lawsuit, the university did not report a single case of sexual assault in the three years between 2008 and 2011.

In September 2017, Baylor settled a federal lawsuit brought about by a former student who claimed she was gang-raped by a pair of football players.  At that time, Baylor released the below statement regarding all of the lawsuits against its administrators: “Baylor University has been focused on seeking the appropriate restorative remedies for survivors who have experienced past events of sexual violence within our campus community.  While we can never erase the reprehensible acts of the past, we hope that today’s agreement will allow Elizabeth Doe to move forward in a supportive manner.”


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