Bayor campus

Baylor University and a former student known as "Elizabeth Doe" reached an agreement Tuesday resolving the woman's Title IX lawsuit against the school.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

Baylor University and an alleged victim of a gang rape by then-football players at the school agreed to a settlement Tuesday in a Title IX lawsuit the woman filed in January.

One of the woman’s lawyers, John Clune, and the university both confirmed the settlement Tuesday but did not disclose details.

“Baylor University has been focused on seeking the appropriate restorative remedies for survivors who have experienced past events of sexual violence within our campus community,” according to a university statement. “While we can never erase the reprehensible acts of the past, we hope that today’s agreement will allow Elizabeth Doe to move forward in a supportive manner.”

Clune confirmed the two sides had reached an agreement through his Twitter account.

“It really all came together as a product of a lot of really frank and meaningful discussions over the past months,” Clune said in a phone interview. “We started talking with the university in a nonlitigation, nonadversarial fashion and really just having some meaningful discussions that led to us getting together and figuring out how to get it done.”

Clune, a nationally-known Title IX attorney who often represents women alleging they were raped as college students, said Baylor President Linda Livingstone was among the school officials he met with.

“We just had a very good sense about her and her motivations to see the school through this,” he said. “They definitely have a long way to go, and they know that, but they’ve got some great people in place.”

Doe alleged she was raped by then-Baylor football players Tre’Von Armstead and Myke Chatman in April 2013 after an off-campus party. Both are awaiting trial in the incident.

Baylor waited at least a year and a half to investigate the incident, ESPN has reported. Clune credited the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office for pursuing the case. Armstead and Chatman were arrested and indicted in March.

“We deal with a lot of schools and a lot of big football towns, and it’s uncommon to get that level of dedication above the sport of football like we’re seeing in McLennan County,” Clune said.

Doe’s lawsuit alleged 52 acts of rape, including five gang rapes, in a four-year span at Baylor. It also claimed football coaches would arrange for women to have sex with potential recruits visiting campus.

This is the fourth Title IX lawsuit Baylor has resolved related to its sexual assault scandal. The school has also reached settlements with at least three other alleged victims of sexual assault who did not file lawsuits. Clune represented each one.

Baylor still faces six active Title IX lawsuits.

Gang rapes committed by football players, according to the suit, were often recorded and circulated around the team. The suit took aim at a culture perpetuating sexual violence at a school that, months before the suit was filed, saw Ken Starr fired as president and Art Briles as head football coach amid the scandal. Athletics Director Ian McCaw resigned days after Starr and Briles’ removals.

Allegations in the lawsuit include one that then-offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, Art Briles’ son, asked a Dallas-area high school football player, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.” Kendal Briles is now offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic University.

The lawsuit also alleged members of the Baylor Bruins, a student organization that hosted recruits visiting campus, “were at times used to engage in sexual acts with the recruits to help secure the recruits’ commitment to Baylor.”

Armstead was dismissed from the team for an undisclosed team violation in September 2015 and expelled in spring 2016 after a university investigation found him responsible for the 2013 incident.

Chatman transferred to Sam Houston State University in 2014 to play football.

According to the suit, Waco police told Doe the rape “was likely too difficult to prove and gave Ms. Doe the alternate option of placing the investigation in ‘suspended’ status. Not wanting the Waco Police to close the case, she chose suspended status.”

A Waco police spokesman did not respond to that claim at the time. Before the police arrived the night of the alleged rape, another Baylor Bruin, already aware of the incident, tried to convince Doe to tell police she had “consensual sex with one white male,” according to the suit.

Baylor police also did not investigate the case, and Doe suffered daily panic attacks afterward, the suit alleged.

Phillip has covered higher education for the Tribune-Herald since November 2015.

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