An attorney for 15 plaintiffs suing Baylor University over its handling of their sexual assault cases is accusing Baylor’s attorneys of further traumatizing the women through marathon depositions in which no question is off-limits.
One former student was asked what kind of shorts she was wearing before the assault. Another was questioned about a psychological assessment performed before she donated a kidney to a stranger. Others were asked how deeply they were penetrated during the assault.
Other questions concerned the sexual assaults committed by one’s imprisoned stepfather and about lists one Jane Doe exchanged with girlfriends about boys they thought were cute.
Waco attorney Jim Dunnam listed his objections to how Baylor’s attorneys are treating the plaintiffs in his response to a defense motion that asks U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman to compel better compliance by the plaintiffs to their discovery requests, such as providing social media posts, text messages and communications between the women and Baylor’s Title IX office.
“Despite continued empty claims of praying and care for these young women, current Baylor leadership is directly responsible for this ongoing abuse being hurled upon these young women by Baylor’s lawyers,” Dunnam said. “This case is about decades of institutional discrimination against women at Baylor, conduct the board has admitted.
“This just shows the conduct continues. These brave girls have taken a stand for hundreds of Baylor rape survivors and continue to expose Baylor’s horrific conduct. Re-victimizing them will not silence them. Baylor evidently believes all 15 of these young women somehow asked to be raped. Regardless of this position, the level of detail in which Baylor is forcing them to relive these events is uncalled for and shameful,” Dunnam said.
Baylor spokesman Jason Cook declined comment on Dunnam’s motion and allegations. However, he noted that both Baylor attorneys asking questions during the depositions are female. Cook said Baylor will file a response to the motion next week.
“As expected, each Jane Doe is enduring 10 to 12 hours sitting through depositions and breaks,” Dunnam wrote in his response. “What is unexpected is the level of abuse being hurled upon them, as Baylor attempts to brand a scarlet letter on someone unfortunate enough to be raped. … Deposition questions probe every college/high school email, text and personal Facebook messages that Baylor deems as prurient, devoting hours of depositions over issues that have nothing to do with the resolution of this case, but instead belittle, harass, and further traumatize. Baylor forces each Jane Doe (most who have spent years trying to suppress or forget) to re-live the most miniscule details of their assaults.”
The plaintiffs’ treatment at the hands of Baylor’s lawyers is “disgusting and repulsive,” Dunnam said.
“Although the veracity of plaintiffs’ testimony of what happened to them arguably goes to issues of damage, it is largely irrelevant to liability issues, which focus on Baylor’s Title IX policies and procedures,” the motion states. “Because Baylor has admitted its policies and procedures were deficient and required no fewer than 105 remedial actions, Baylor has no other defense to this case other than to accuse all 15 of these plaintiffs as liars and attempt to send a message that continuation of this lawsuit will result in further trauma.”