Baylor campus

A legal filing Tuesday alleges Baylor University did not properly investigate a man accused of sexual assault in 2014.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

A former Baylor University student accused of sexual assault in a Title IX lawsuit against the school benefited from close ties to top administrators and helped develop a Baylor Title IX policy, according to a motion filed Tuesday on behalf of the lawsuit’s 10 unnamed plaintiffs.

The woman known as Jane Doe 3, who has alleged she was sexually harassed and assaulted by the fellow student between 2013 and 2015, also said a one-day investigation cleared him after he personally lobbied to Bethany McCraw, a Baylor student discipline officer.

The alleged assailant, a fellow staff member in her dormitory, got an undergraduate degree from Baylor and needed government security clearance to continue his career, according to the motion. After he was denied clearance because of a criminal history that includes four arrests on sexual misconduct-related charges, then-President Ken Starr and Vice President for Student Life Kevin Jackson allegedly intervened by writing a character recommendation, the motion alleges.

Jackson allegedly suggested to Starr they should write a “qualifier at the beginning of the letter speaking to how he doesn’t know anything about the alleged incidents earlier [which has prevented his clearance,]” according to the motion.

The plaintiffs’ motion alleges Starr and Jackson knew why the clearance was denied and that McCraw had told Starr’s assistant to read relevant background information on the situation.

After the matter involving the security clearance, the alleged assailant was admitted to Baylor as a graduate student, at Jackson’s recommendation, according to the motion. The alleged victim reported that then-Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford told her an investigation would be opened if the man returned to campus, but no investigation was opened when he returned as a graduate student, according to the filing.

The man’s LinkedIn page touts his work with the university’s counseling center and Title IX office regarding sexual harassment and assault awareness and prevention, according to the filing.

Jim Dunnam, a Waco attorney who represents the plaintiffs, declined comment on his filing Tuesday. The motion comes in response to a sealed document Baylor filed in the lawsuit last week.

“Baylor University will decline to comment in the media until legal counsel has an opportunity to thoroughly review the filing,” the school said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Any response will be provided to the court in the appropriate legal forum.”

McCraw conducted an investigation into the matter involving another student between Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, 2014, after the assailant emailed McCraw the day the complaint was made, according to the motion filed Tuesday.

“There is a very pressing issue I need to speak with you about,” he allegedly wrote McCraw. “I’ve gotten myself into what may be a lot of trouble, and I would really appreciate your counsel on the matter. Do you have any openings today?”

Dunnam and the plaintiffs allege Baylor mischaracterized details behind the case in its sealed motion last week.

Baylor lawyers have noted that FERPA, a federal privacy law preventing universities from disclosing certain information regarding students, does not apply to the plaintiffs’ personal communications. They have also charged that the plaintiffs have improperly redacted names of witnesses and entire conversations relevant to the case.

In a motion last week, the university alleged Doe 3 told her counselor she had been “very attracted” to the alleged assailant. In December 2015, she allegedly told the man that she was “mad” they did not have sex “more often.” She also apologized for hurt they caused each other and suggested she would leave him alone if that is what he wanted, according to the motion.

Baylor’s motion also alleges Doe 3 sent a text message to a friend saying “the negative press” against Baylor regarding its Title IX failures could mean “they’d be more willing to let me win” in a university investigation.

In the motion Tuesday, Dunnam accused Baylor of submitting “out-of-context, incomplete, or demonstrably inaccurate assertions.”

“Baylor does not mince words with these selective quotes — the implication is clear — according to Baylor, Doe 3 asked for it. The full facts reveal otherwise,” the Tuesday filing states.

The two sides have argued for months on discovery disputes. A ruling last week denied Baylor’s attempt to block student records related to “sex” or “sexual conduct generally” since 2003. The order affected about 6,200 current and former students, who will soon receive notice that their records are needed in the lawsuit.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect who was at the center of a one-day investigation by Bethany McCraw in 2014.

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

Recommended for you