Calls by Baylor University constituents for the school to be more transparent have flooded in during the unfolding sexual assault scandal that has enveloped the university for more than a year and a half.
However, the lawyers for 10 women who were assaulted while students at Baylor hope that if the school won’t listen to prominent donors, a former board chairman, a former Baylor president or distinguished alumni, they will listen to a federal judge.
Jim Dunnam and Chad Dunn, who represent 10 women known in their federal Title IX lawsuit only as Jane Does 1 through 10, filed notice Friday to subpoena materials from Pepper Hamilton, the Philadelphia law firm that conducted a nine-month investigation into how Baylor handled reports of sexual assault, including several against members of the Baylor football team.
“It’s long past time for the truth of how senior administrators discouraged and retaliated against the young women for reporting sexual assault,” Dunnam said Monday. “We’ll never have transparency until they stop saying this was just a football problem. Every time they say it is just a football problem is further victimization of the over 100 young women who were wronged that had nothing to do with football.”
Pepper Hamilton found “fundamental failure” in Baylor’s response to sexual assault and Title IX complaints, and issued 105 recommendations designed to improve the situation at the school. Baylor regents approved the report and the recommendations but have not heeded calls to release the law firm’s full report, which also led to the firings of former President Ken Starr and head football coach Art Briles.
Dunnam said he and Dunn have requested similar records from Baylor as the lawsuit progresses.
Dan Pulka, a spokesman for Pepper Hamilton, did not return a phone message on Monday.
The request asks for documents and records relating to Pepper Hamilton’s work for Baylor beginning in 2015 to present. Some items include information from the Advocacy Center of Waco, the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office, the Waco Police Department, Baylor Police Department, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, Baylor and Cenikor.
The subpoena also seeks all documents provided to Pepper Hamilton from Baylor related to Baylor’s week-long “internal inquiry” conducted by Baylor Law Professor Jeremy Counseller in late-August 2015, all documents and records exchanged between Pepper Hamilton and Baylor and all documents that formed the basis of each finding in the board of regents’ findings of fact released May 26, 2016.
Also, the attorneys are seeking access to all documents used by Pepper Hamilton in reaching its findings and recommendations; all tapes, recordings and notes of interviews conducted by Pepper Hamilton; and all emails, text messages or notes from current and former Baylor employees provided to Pepper Hamilton.
The subpoena also seeks all documents that formed the basis of Pepper Hamilton’s conclusions that Baylor “acted in a manner that constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault,” that Baylor took actions that “directly discouraged complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes, or that contributed to or accommodated a hostile environment” and “in some instances, administrative responses and campus processes caused significant harm to complainants.”