Baylor Sex Assault Scandal Leads to Firings, Resignations

Baylor_University_1892_frontBaylor University, a Baptist school proud of its socially conservative reputation, is in the middle of a sexual assault scandal that continues to grab headlines.  As in other sexual abuse cases involving trusted institutions like the Catholic Church, the Mormons, and the Boy Scouts, Baylor University officials stand accused of ignoring sexual assault complaints – this time, complaints against star athletes.

The Dallas Morning News reports that, since 2014, at least three college football players have been accused of sexual assault without adequate response from the University.

On May 26th, Kenneth Starr, President of Baylor and prosecutor in the Monica Lewinsky case, was demoted and the football coach was suspended indefinitely with the intention of termination. Starr has since resigned and the coach has been fired. On May 30, the school’s athletic director, Ian McCaw, resigned.

The Baylor sex scandal broke when ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired an interview with three women who claimed the university failed to act on their allegations that Tevin Elliot, a Baylor defensive lineman, had sexually assaulted them.  Elliot is now in prison for sexual assault.

ESPN reported that Baylor University provided little or no support for the women and was slow to hire someone to handle such complaints.  ESPN continued to investigate and found that coaches and university officials knew about the incidents but did nothing about them.  The ESPN report also criticized the local police department for not investigating the criminal allegations.

Baylor’s woes did not stop with the football team.  This March, Jacob Anderson, the president of Baylor’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity, was accused of forcing himself on a woman outside a fraternity party.

The woman told Waco police that she became disoriented after consuming a drink at the party and that Anderson led her to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her.

Baylor is just the latest college to face scandal over its failure to handle sexual assaults, usually by athletes.  Jon Krakauer documented the “rape culture” at the University of Montana in his bestselling book Missoula.  Oregon State recently faced charges from Brenda Tracy that the college dismissed her accusations years earlier that she had been raped by three college football players.

College sports, particularly football, is big business. But athletes should not get special treatment because they bring glory and dollars to schools. When a student claims she is sexually assaulted on campus, that claim should be reported to the police for investigation, not by the school, but by proper law enforcement authorities.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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