Baylor University asked a U.S. district court judge to throw out a Title IX lawsuit alleging the school mishandled a sexual assault investigation after announcing it had implemented extensive reforms to its processes.
Identified as Jane Doe 11, the plaintiff alleges a fellow student sexually assaulted her in April at an off-campus residence during a party. A university investigation found the alleged assailant did not commit the assault, based on the preponderance of the evidence standard used in Title IX investigations, according to the suit.
Baylor argues the existence of its revamped Title IX policy clears the university of Title IX liability.
Baylor argues the existence of its Title IX policy “is the only standard by which Baylor’s Title IX liability — and the plausibility of plaintiff’s allegations — must be judged.”
The university also argues it did not consider Doe 11’s claims with deliberate indifference, a key point that would have to be proved in her lawsuit.
“Although plaintiff clearly disagrees with the results of the investigation into her alleged assault, Title IX does not mandate a particular outcome,” Baylor’s motion states.
According to the lawsuit, Baylor police investigated the report, but no charges were filed.
A university spokesman declined comment on the school’s filing, which was made late Monday.
Doe 11 is one of 15 plaintiffs suing Baylor represented by Waco attorney Jim Dunnam and Houston attorney Chad Dunn. Her experience with Title IX officials “directly contracted any assurance that meaningful change had occurred … despite the university’s repeated boastings of full implementation of the recommendations,” made by the Pepper Hamilton law firm after a nine-month investigation, according to her lawsuit.
“Baylor simply continues to avoid accepting responsibility, despite all statements to the contrary,” Dunnam told the Tribune-Herald.
The university faces five lawsuits with pending Title IX claims. The suits include 17 plaintiffs, one a former staffer.
In May, Baylor announced it had implemented 105 recommendations made by Pepper Hamilton to improve its institutional response to sexual violence.