If you thought that the sexual assault scandal surrounding Baylor could not get any worse, you would be wrong. Very, very wrong. Perhaps the most disturbing allegations to date were leveled against Baylor on Wednesday in a Title IX lawsuit filed against the school.
In the lawsuit, a female volleyball player alleges she was brutally gang raped in 2012 by at least four Baylor football players, and possibly by as many as eight. She claims she attended a party with a football player when she was drugged, picked up, carried to a truck belonging to a Baylor football player, and taken to another location.
Plaintiff remembers lying on her back, unable to move and staring at glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling as the football players took turns raping her. Following the gang rape, Plaintiff remembers hearing the players yell “Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!”
The alleged victim woke up the next day at a friend’s apartment, but her nightmare was far from over.
Following the sexual assault, Plaintiff was repeatedly subjected to verbal abuse and public humiliation by Baylor football players. Baylor football players sent several text messages to Plaintiff in which they attempted to paint a completely different picture of what had happened that night. One football player told Plaintiff that it was consensual and that she “wanted it.” That same football player also taunted Plaintiff with claims that a Baylor football player had taken nude photographs of Plaintiff and other Baylor football players during the gang rape.
The football players also perpetuated rumors about Plaintiff throughout the Baylor campus about “riding train” on Plaintiff, a reference to the night they took turns raping her as she laid there barely conscious.
The harassment didn’t end there. The victim’s mother later met with an assistant football coach where she informed the coach of the alleged rape; a meeting which Baylor has since acknowledged. Unsurprisingly, in light of the numerous other sexual assault allegations, the football staff did little to follow up on the allegations, and engaged in victim blaming.
After a couple of players were made aware of the victim’s allegations by the assistant coach, players created fake phone numbers to harass the victim, taunted her in class, and broke into and robbed her apartment.
The victim reported the burglary to the Waco Police Department, which allegedly led to further harassment by the football team.
After reporting the burglary to the Waco Police Department, Plaintiff received threatening and harassing text messages from several Baylor football players, including one of the players who burglarized her apartment. The football players later tried to justify the burglary by spreading false rumors that Plaintiff had stolen their dog. Earlier that year, Plaintiff had taken the player’s dog to the vet and paid for urgent medical treatment after the dog was injured in a dog fight orchestrated by Baylor football players.
The lawsuit also makes it clear that head coach Art Briles and higher-ups at the university were well aware of the alleged incident, and failed to act.
In 2013, the victim and her parents met with her volleyball coach and recounted the gang rape in detail and the harassment that followed. The volleyball coach then met with Art Briles, to which Briles responded, “those are some bad dudes…why was she around those guys?”
Athletic director Ian McCaw also admitted in 2015 of being made aware of the gang rape in 2013, but he did not report the incident to Judicial Affairs claiming ignorance to Title IX procedures.
The victim, under intense emotional suffering, withdrew from Baylor in 2013.
Allegations in the lawsuit go beyond the plaintiff’s alleged gang rape and paint a picture of a culture where rape was not only accepted, it was seemingly encouraged. The lawsuit claims the Baylor used its female hosting program to seduce and have sex with recruits, and outlines a hazing ritual where gang rapes or “trains” were considered a bonding experience by the team.
Upon information and belief, prior to Plaintiff’s arrival at Baylor, members of the Baylor football team had already developed a system of hazing their freshman recruits by having them bring or invite freshman females to house parties hosted by members of the football team. At these parties, the girls would be drugged and gang raped, or in the words of the football players, “trains” would be run on the girls.
Baylor has issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
The alleged incident outlined in the court filing occurred more than 5 years ago, and Baylor University has been in conversations with the victim’s legal counsel for many months in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution.
As this case proceeds, Baylor maintains its ability to present facts — as available to the University — in response to the allegations contained in the legal filing.
The University’s response in no way changes Baylor’s position that any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable.
Baylor remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community.