Former Baylor University head football coach Art Briles has again pushed back against allegations he ignored sexual assault claims to protect his players from university or criminal punishment.
In a Friday legal filing in the lawsuit of Jasmin Hernandez, who was raped by former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott, Briles said he was unaware that six female Baylor students had independently told a university judicial officer they had been sexually assaulted by Elliott, who played under Briles from 2009 to 2012.
Briles also denied details of the lawsuit, including allegations that he received phone calls from a rape victim’s parents in 2012 and that he and the university did not properly respond.
“We want to be sensitive to any anguish or pain that anyone sustained,” said Mark Lanier, Briles’ Houston attorney. “But a legal proceeding is also about the truth, and we think it’s imperative that, in the process of this proceeding, the truth come out. I still believe the truth has not been fully told, and a lot of people will be surprised when they find out what really happened and what Coach Briles knew or didn’t know.”
Lanier also said Briles is hopeful to coach again in 2018.
Briles faces negligence claims in the suit brought by Hernandez, a former Baylor student who was raped by Elliott. It is Tribune-Herald policy not to name sexual assault victims. However, Hernandez has come forward publicly and given the Tribune-Herald permission to use her name. Elliott, meanwhile, is serving a 20-year prison sentence for raping Hernandez in 2012.
Briles was fired in May 2016 amid the school’s sexual assault scandal. Ian McCaw, who later resigned as athletics director, faces similar claims as Briles in the Hernandez suit. The case also continues against the university after a federal judge ruled in Hernandez’s Title IX claim that Baylor’s actions created a heightened risk for students.
Alex Zalkin, Hernandez’s attorney, had no comment on Briles’ Friday filing.
In the filing, Briles denied being “responsible for overseeing all football-related activities,” and he also said he did not know six women reported sexual assault by Elliott to Bethany McCraw, who is now Baylor’s associate dean for student conduct administration. Hernandez’s lawsuit alleges McCraw told one of Elliott’s alleged assault victims and her mother that the university could not do anything unless a court determined Elliott had raped her.
On March 1, Briles released a statement saying he did not cover up sexual violence and that he had no contact with victims of sexual or domestic assault. The statement was also critical of Baylor regents, who, through a February legal filing, released a more detailed summary of an investigation that ultimately led to Briles’ firing.
In December, a day after Baylor named Matt Rhule as its next football coach, Briles sued three regents and a senior administrator, alleging libel, slander and conspiracy. He dropped the suit less than two months later. Previously, Briles and the university had resolved his contract through a confidential settlement after he was fired.
On Monday, Lanier said both Briles and Baylor have been wrongly judged by the public.
“Time is going to show he is a great coach who cared about everybody, and time is going to show that Baylor was also a relatively safe school,” he said.
A trial is set for July 9, 2018.