A former Baylor University student whose friends jokingly warned her “not to get raped by Baylor football players” has sued the school, alleging she was sexually assaulted by football players in November 2017 and further victimized by the school’s responses to her allegations.
The plaintiff, known as Jane Doe, filed the suit Wednesday in Waco’s U.S. District Court, marking the 11th Title IX lawsuit Baylor has faced since 2016 amid its sexual assault scandal that led to high-profile administrative changes, lawsuits and investigations.
The woman, a member of the equestrian team, claimed two football players assaulted her at an off-campus apartment while another person in the room recorded the incident and sent the video to freshman football players through Snapchat.
Doe said she and a female friend, who Doe said was also assaulted in the same incident, were incapacitated after a night of drinking at a party and dancing at Scruffy Murphy’s bar.
The video was also seen by Doe’s teammates, according to the suit, which was first reported by ESPN.
Doe said she faced questions from Baylor’s Title IX office in a “shaming, embarrassing and hostile manner” and was forced to relive the trauma of the incident multiple times long after the incident occurred.
“In a textbook victim-shaming maneuver, (Title IX investigator Michael Noble) went so far as to ask her what she was wearing that night,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit stated one of the football players was ultimately found to have assaulted Doe and was expelled, but the other was not.
However, a Baylor statement said “all of the respondents were found responsible for one or more of the allegations against them, and none are enrolled at Baylor any longer.”
“Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, Baylor’s Title IX policies and procedures were followed in how the incident was reported, investigated and ultimately adjudicated — from the initial report to the final adjudication,” the statement said.
The university called it “a complex case” involving “three complainants, four respondents and multiple allegations by each of the three complainants against each of the respondents.”
Criminal charges were filed, but in June, a McLennan County grand jury declined to indict the two players, Tre’von Lewis and John Arthur. The Baylor statement said athletics officials reported the matter to the Title IX office on the same day they learned about it and suspended the respondents from all team activities within 36 hours of the incident report.
In March, head football coach Matt Rhule announced Lewis and Arthur had been suspended.
The lawsuit alleged Baylor Title IX investigators unnecessarily interviewed 39 people, some of whom were shown the video of the incident and were unfamiliar with Doe.
Doe’s teammate who allegedly shared the video of the incident also discouraged Doe from reporting the assault, saying her name “would be publicized nationwide and Baylor football would ‘receive the death penalty.’ ”
Doe’s allegations also take aim at the Title IX office’s interim measures during the investigation. She said Baylor did not enforce no-contact orders between the alleged perpetrators and miscalculated the length of the investigation. She also said her experiences with Baylor’s counseling center and her father’s email correspondence with President Linda Livingstone did not suffice with her needs and contributed to emotional distress.
She withdrew from Baylor last summer before the investigation ended in October, the lawsuit states. Before she enrolled, her friends told her not to “get raped by Baylor football players,” in reference to the scandal.
In May 2016, Baylor fired Ken Starr as president and Art Briles as head football coach after an independent investigation found “fundamental failure” in Title IX procedures and a football program operating “above the rules.” Ian McCaw also resigned as athletics director.
Baylor is still under investigations by the U.S. Department of Education, the Texas Rangers and the NCAA.