Three women have filed a second civil rights lawsuit against Baylor University on the grounds that the school failed to help them after they reported being sexually assaulted on or near the campus.
Baylor, a Christian college located in Waco, Texas, was already in trouble for its gross mishandling of sexual assault cases over the last several years, resulting in the demotion of university president and chancellor Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr) and the firing of head football coach, Art Briles. From the Dallas Morning News:
The lawsuit filed Wednesday lists three “Jane Doe” plaintiffs who allege they were attacked by fellow students on or near campus in 2004, 2013 and 2014. None of the alleged assailants are identified, but the woman in the 2014 case alleges the attacker was a football player.
The women say they reported their attacks to various campus officials, including police, physicians, student advocacy officials, a chaplain, a professor, an assistant dean and a dorm director, and got little or no assistance.
The university is currently in the process of settling a similar lawsuit filed by former student Jasmin Hernandez, who in 2012 was raped by former football player Tevin Elliott. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000.
A report released in May announced that an investigation found “a fundamental failure” to enforce Title IX regulations, accusing the university of not only discouraging victims from reporting abuse cases, but in one instance, engaging in “retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
On June 10, Baylor announced the formation of two complementary task forces to address the 105 recommendations that resulted from the investigation, led by the law firm Pepper Hamilton.
The steps the school plans to take include adding three staff positions to the Title IX office, allocating more resources and staff to its counselling center, and broadening its “It’s On Us” campaign, which endeavors to educate students, faculty and staff on how to report incidents of sexual violence.
Baylor also released a statement addressing the latest lawsuit:
“Due to the deeply personal and sensitive nature of individual cases and federal law, we do not publicly address specific cases, even when a student publicly shares details or reports of his or her own experience.
“The decision to report to the university or other authorities is a brave and personal choice and occurs on the student’s timetable. We’re committed to and have already begun to implement changes in order to provide a safe and supportive environment for students and faculty.”
Image via AP.