Baylor and Waco police buried reports of sexual assaults, report says
A “60 Minutes Sports” report on Tuesday uncovered more details of the Baylor University sexual assault case, including an alleged history of Baylor campus police and Waco authorities burying reports of sexual violence.
After Baylor’s then-Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, attempted to obtain Waco police reports involving alleged sexual assaults on students, she received an email from a university vice president informing her that the Waco police “do not want the actual police reports turned over to Title IX,” according to the “60 Minutes Sports” report.
Senior Vice President of Operations Reagan Ramsower, who is in charge of public safety at Baylor, told “60 Minutes Sports” that the campus police failed to report alleged sexual assaults.
In reference to an incident of sexual assault, Ramsower said, “There was a police report; I suppose it stayed with the police department. It never came out of the police department. That was a significant failure to respond by our police department, there’s no doubt about it,” CBS News reported.
While the most violent cases appeared to involve football players, sexual assault has pervaded the Baylor community, according to the “60 Minutes Sports” report.
When asked how many women stepped into her office and alleged sexual violence, Crawford said, “hundreds.”
Report spells out institutional failures at Baylor
Previously unreported details of the Baylor University sexual assault scandal involving the school’s football players were revealed in a Wall Street Journal report published on Friday.
The report was compiled from interviews with Baylor University regents who indicated that the scope of the scandal “involved 17 women who reported sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 players, including four alleged gang rapes, since 2011.”
Following an investigation by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, Baylor fired football coach Art Briles in May. In at least one case, according to the regents, Briles knew about an alleged incident and did not alert police, the school’s judicial affairs staff or the Title IX office responsible for reacting to such cases.
Baylor did not release the full results of the Pepper Hamilton investigation from May, but published a summary of the findings.
“You should know, while the lawyers from Pepper Hamilton gave presentations to the Board of Regents and some administrators about their findings, they never created or delivered a written report,” Baylor Interim President Garland said in a statement.
But the summary spelled out institutional corruption and individual failures.
According to Pepper Hamilton’s summary, university administrators took actions that “directly discouraged complainants from reporting” allegations of sexual assault and that in one case “those actions constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
Ernest Cannon, Art Briles’ lawyer, said Briles never discouraged any survivors from filing claims and that Baylor “appeared to be violating a nondisparagement clause” by discussing Briles’ role in the scandal, according to the Wall Street Journal report.
The private Baptist university prohibits alcohol and premarital sex in the student code of conduct. Pepper Hamilton’s summary suggested that Baylor’s strict code may have contributed to the problem by creating a hostile environment for sexual assault victims based on their alcohol consumption and sexual activity.
“Perceived judgmental responses by administrators based on a complainant’s alcohol or other drug use or prior consensual sexual activity also discouraged reporting [sexual violence],” the summary read.
J. Cary Gray, one of the regents interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, suggested that the health of the football program was more highly prized than the safety of the students.
“There was a cultural issue there that was putting winning football games above everything else, including our values . . . we did not have a caring community when it came to these women who reported that they were assaulted. And that is not OK.”
In a statement to KWTX-News 10 after his termination, Briles said that in his 38-year coaching career, “I have certainly made mistakes and, in hindsight, I would have done certain things differently.”
Fallout at Baylor
Baylor’s former Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, resigned in October and alleged that university officials hindered her efforts to address what she said was a sexual assault issue for the whole campus, not just football players, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Crawford’s complaint. Baylor said in statement that it will cooperate.
Former Baylor University President Ken Starr was demoted to chancellor after the Pepper Hamilton investigation and then split from the school in August in a “mutually agreed separation.”
Baylor posted a new web page titled “The Truth” which Garland said is meant to inform the Baylor community about the sexual assault scandal and the university’s efforts to “learn from our mistakes” and progress as an institution.
The web page contains interviews, articles, letters and a statement from Garland. It also highlights the school’s $4.3 million investment in its Title IX office since November 2014.
“That Baylor did not respond as a caring Christian community to those who were hurt grieves all of us – regents, administrators, faculty and staff. On behalf of everyone at Baylor, I want to apologize again to the victims and their families. I will do all I can to ensure this never happens again,” Garland said in a statement.