UPDATE: At the time of the original post, Shawn Oakman had not been arrested. The post has been updated to reflect that he was booked into jail Wednesday afternoon on a sexual assault complaint.
If Baylor was hoping the controversy of sexual assaults by members of the football program was just going to go away, it was wishful thinking. Especially after today.
ESPN’s Outside The Lines is reporting that not only have they found sexual assault allegations involving two more players, but Baylor failed to investigate the claim for two years!
In 2013, the Waco Police Department wrote in a police report that it had informed Baylor officials about an off-campus incident involving former All-Big 12 tight end Tre’Von Armstead and former practice squad player Myke Chatman. Waco police also told the alleged victim they had contacted Baylor, but according to documents and interviews conducted by Outside the Lines, Baylor didn’t begin looking into the allegations until Sept. 11, 2015.
This is just the latest claim in what is becoming a rather lengthy, and troublesome, list of sexual assault allegations committed by football players and the University’s failure to act on those claims.
In August of 2015, Sam Ukwuachu’s sexual assault conviction took the media by surprise. Ukwuachu had been on trial for a year, and while suspended from the football team for unknown reasons, he was still on Baylor’s campus attending classes.
In March, it was revealed that the victim of the sexual assault that sent former football player Tevin Elliott to prison for 20 years filed a lawsuit against the school for their alleged ‘deliberate indifference’ towards her assault. It has since been learned that Art Briles is named in the suit as well.
Then recently, it was revealed that former Baylor star Shawn Oakman is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that supposedly occurred on April 3rd at Baylor. Oakman was arrested following that investigation on Wednesday afternoon.
Outside The Lines reports that the latest sexual assault allegation stems from an incident in 2013.
Police came to the woman’s house the night of the alleged assault after her friends called 911 believing that she’d been attacked. Observations by officers at the scene and a rape exam at a hospital revealed bruises, a bite mark and scratches, and witnesses told police they believed they had heard, from downstairs, noises indicative of an assault. But the woman declined to press charges, and Waco police effectively ended the investigation.
Complicating the matter, the alleged victim told police that she was blackout drunk – describing to officers that she can function normally with some people unable to tell she is even drunk, but will have no recollection of it the next day – and didn’t remember exactly what happened.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Baylor launched their own investigation after the victim, after being encouraged by a friend, came forward to ask for an update on her case. The school claims they were unaware of the allegation until that point. Something the 2013 police report contradicts.
I was advised by Sgt. SKAGGS to make call notes on the incar computer and contact Baylor University to inform them of the situation. Per Sgt. SKAGGS, the call notes were added and Baylor University was contacted.
A Waco Police spokesman told Outside The Lines that they did not know whom Sgt. Swanton contacted at the school.
Armstead and Chatman were never questioned by police, and Armstead has always maintained that he did not have sex with the victim. He was expelled from Baylor in 2015 after the school determined the alleged victim was too drunk to give consent. A decision he has appealed (unsuccessfully), and is considering suing the school over.
“I do not understand that a university with the reputation for Christian values can expel me and find me responsible for an act that has the potential to absolutely ruin my reputation and my future,” he wrote in his expulsion appeal. “To do so in a manner that demeans and destroys my personhood relying almost solely on college kids who were almost certainly drinking on a night from two and a half years ago is wrong.”
Chatman left the school following the end of the semester following the alleged assault but told school officials in 2015 that he and Armstead had sex with the victim.
If you’ve followed it up until this point, here’s where it gets really confusing.
Waco Police never questioned Armstead or Chatman. When asked as to why that was, Sgt. Swanton told Outside The Lines he wasn’t sure but said that she was “adamant that nothing had happened”.
What the victim told outside the lines staunchly disagrees with that statement.
The woman told Outside the Lines that she was confident that she had been assaulted: “I would never willingly engage in sex with someone like that, especially with two men at the same time.” But she said officers told her that she didn’t have a very strong case.
Then there is the matter of the text messages. The alleged victim said she had text messages that Chatman had sent her the next day, but told police she had accidentally deleted them.
The police searched her phone but were unable to recover any deleted messages. At that point, she said she “did not wish to pursue the case since nothing was located on her phone to help.”
However, in 2015, Baylor hired a private firm to examine her phone, and they found several text messages between her, Chatman and Armstead including some that indicated they’d had sex. It was at that point that Chatman admitted to Baylor officials that the three did have sex which led to Armstead’s dismissal from the school.
In summary, I don’t know if this is as much about Baylor’s failure to investigate as much as it is about the justice system’s inability to properly investigate a serious allegation. What the school knew and when they knew it comes down to whether you believe the police, who say they informed the school in their 2013 report, or Baylor, who says they weren’t informed until the victim asked them about the case in 2015. What we do know is that there are at least two other discrepancies with what police claim in their investigation, and for better or worse, Baylor did take action in 2015. That much is not up for debate.
As to why the police never pursued a legal consent investigation, Sgt. Swanton told Outside The Lines he didn’t know.