More Rape Victims Sue Baylor University

     WACO, Texas (CN) — Three former students sued Baylor University on Wednesday, claiming school officials failed to appropriately investigate and respond to their sexual assaults by other students.
     In the federal lawsuit, the three Jane Does cite Baylor’s “historic and extensive history of abuse and conscious disregard” of rape and sexual assault, as indicated by the recent rape scandal involving Baylor football.
     “Defendant failed to take immediate, effective remedial steps to resolve the complaints of sexual harassment, and instead acted with deliberate indifference towards plaintiffs,” the 29-page complaint states. “Defendant persisted in its actions and inaction even after it had actual knowledge of the harm suffered by plaintiffs. Defendant engaged in a pattern and practice of behavior designed to discourage and dissuade students and guest students who have been sexually assaulted from seeking prosecution and protection and from seeking to have sexual assaults from being fully investigated.”
     Jane Doe 1 says an unidentified football player raped her on April 26, 2014, in a university-owned residence.
     Afterward, “The defendant’s physician misinformed Jane Doe 1 and concealed from Jane Doe 1 as to her options to further report the incident, accommodations she was entitled to under Title IX, and further investigatory actions that could be taken by the University,” the complaint states. “Jane Doe 1 also reported the sexual assault to the Baylor advocacy center during the period of final exams, but no official action was taken by the University and Jane Doe 1 was left to cope with the situation alone and in fear.”
     Jane Doe 2 says she was raped at an off-campus house on Sept. 4, 2004, while she was a minor. She says Baylor police misinformed her and hid the consequences of filing a police report, “effectively discouraging” her from naming her rapist. She says she was physically examined when she reported the rape to the Baylor Health Center, but no rape kit was prepared.
     “At one point, Assailant 2 snuck up behind Jane Doe 2 while on campus, causing her to scream and flee into the nearby office of one of her professors, and assistant dean,” the complaint states. “During this episode, Jane Doe 2 reported the incident to the assistant dean. At a later meeting, the dean suggested that Jane Doe 2 withdraw from the University given her now consistent academic struggles.”
     Jane Doe 3 says she was sexually harassed and assaulted repeatedly from autumn 2013 until December 2015. After the first assault, at a campus dormitory, she says a school physician misinformed her of her options to further report the assault.
     “The lack of knowledgeable staff and the nonexistence of a Title IX office substantially impaired Jane Doe 3’s higher education experience and has severely impaired her physical and mental health and well-being,” the complaint states.
     Baylor officials declined to comment on the lawsuit Wednesday, citing the “deeply personal and sensitive nature of individual cases and federal law.”
     “The decision to report to the university or other authorities is a brave and personal choice and occurs on the student’s timetable,” Baylor said in a statement. “We’re committed to and have already begun to implement changes in order to provide a safe and supportive environment for students and faculty.”
     Baylor is trying to settle a similar lawsuit from a former student who said school officials were indifferent after she reported being raped by a former football player.
     The growing number of rape claims prompted Baylor trustees to order an external review by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton last year. The report found that administrators “directly discouraged” women from reporting sexual results and in one case retaliated against a victim for reporting.
     Trustees then demoted Baylor President Ken Starr to chancellor. He then resigned as chancellor “as a matter of conscience,” but stayed on as a law school professor.
     Baylor also placed athletic director Ian McCaw on probation — after which he resigned — and suspended head football coach Art Briles with intent to terminate.
     Baylor and Briles are said to be negotiating terms of a buyout of his contract.
     The three Jane Does seek an injunction and punitive damages for violations Title IX, the Clery Act and the Fourth Amendment, breach of contract and negligence.
     They are represented by Chad Dunn with Brazil Dunn in Houston.
     The Clery Act of 1990 is named for Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered at 19 at Lehigh University in 1986. In the act named for her, Congress required colleges that receive federal aid to record and disclose information about crimes on and near their campuses.

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