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Image of the Baylor Football Field
Baylor Football Field; image courtesy of Cardinalfan24 via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Earlier today, Baylor University agreed to settle a federal Title IX lawsuit filed by a former volleyball player after she was allegedly “drugged and gang-raped by at least four football players in 2012.” At the moment, terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, though it’s now the “fifth Title IX lawsuit the university has settled,” and it likely won’t be the last. As it stands right now, there are 15 “former students who say they were sexually assaulted still have ongoing litigation with the nation’s largest Baptist school.”

In her lawsuit, the former volleyball player, who is known as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, gave “explicit details of what she described as a gang rape that may have involved as many as eight players.” According to her, “players told one another to grab her phone and delete their numbers and texts following the incident at an off-campus apartment.”

Image of Baylor Offices of University President and Other Officials
Baylor Offices of University President and Other Officials; image courtesy of Brentsalter via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org

As Jane Doe and other women began stepping forward with lawsuits in response to their assault, more and more shocking details of what how the women were treated began to surface. For example, “freshmen players were charged with bringing women to parties where they were drugged and accosted,” according to Jane Doe’s lawsuit.

However, the university pushed back against Jane Doe’s suit and even tried to have it dismissed last month. It argued that “Jane Doe was using inflammatory allegations and speculation about sexual assaults of other women to bolster her own claims.”

Since she first filed her lawsuit, the university’s football coach, Art Briles, and university President, Ken Starr, have been fired and broad criticism about “how officials for years failed to properly respond to claims of sexual assault by students” has begun to circulate, prompting more women to step forward with allegations of their own. As a result, many Title IX lawsuits have been filed against the school. For those who don’t know, Title IX “bars discrimination on the basis of sex in education and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that schools must address sexual assault under the terms of Title IX.”

After the settlement was announced earlier today, the university issued the following statement:

“Our new leadership team is steadfast in our commitment to properly respond to incidents of sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and harassment.”

It’s important to note, however, that the recent settlement came after a “deposition last month involving former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw.” In his deposition, he said he was “disgusted by the racism and a phony investigation document that Baylor issued in 2016 that leveled findings against the football program.” He also added that he decided to resign “because he didn’t want to be part of a massive cover-up scheme.” He’s now the athletic director at Liberty University.

Sources:

Baylor settles lawsuit with woman who said players raped her

Baylor University settles Title IX lawsuit in which gang rape by up to 8 football players was alleged

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