Twenty years in prison. That’s what former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was facing after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting a female student athlete. Texas Judge Matt Johnson ended up sentencing him to just 180 days in county jail, 10 years of felony probation, and 400 hours of community service for the sexual assault of a former Baylor student athlete. Ukwuachu will also have to register as a sex offender, but it’s a far cry from what it could have been.
For most people, the name Sam Ukwuachu meant nothing before an August 20th Texas Monthly story revealed that a Baylor football player was on trial for something truly heinous, and somehow, the world didn’t know about it. The name Ukwuachu has dominated the headlines ever since.
Critics of Baylor have accused the private university of an overall mishandling of the initial investigation. Largely because we’ve been somewhat blindsided by the news of a tragic night that happened nearly two years ago. Just how much as Baylor known? Why was Ukwuachu still attending classes with the victim after the incident had been reported? What did Baylor do to investigate the incident? Was Baylor aware of an earlier incident involving Ukwuachu while at Boise State? These are all questions that demand answers.
Via a letter posted on the school’s website after consulting with the school’s board of regents, executive council, and academic leadership, Baylor University President Ken Starr has called for an internal investigation aimed at finding those answers.
He called for a “comprehensive internal inquiry into the circumstances associated with the case and the conduct of the offices involved. After an analysis of his report, I will determine what additional action to take.”
Heading up the investigation will be law professor Jeremy Counseller.
“Mr. Counseller will engage others in his review as he deems appropriate and will submit his report directly to me at the conclusion of his inquiry,” Starr wrote. “After an analysis of his report, I will determine what additional action to take.”
Baylor has to answer some uncomfortable questions over the next few weeks, but it looks like the school recognizes that somewhere something failed, and it can’t be allowed to happen again.
“Many of you have expressed your disappointment and anger over this tragic episode. My colleagues and I fully share your outrage.” Starr continued. “In addition to the work already being undertaken by our Title IX Office, we are doing everything in our power to ensure that acts of sexual violence are not committed and that those who perpetrate them will find no shelter on our campus.”
However, the actions taken tomorrow will be worth a lot more than the words spoken today.