Baylor names outside counsel to review university sexual assault procedure

The Baylor Board of Regents has retained Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP to initiate a comprehensive independent review of the university’s procedures on sexual assault according to a statement from the university.

Partners Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez will lead the investigation. Smith and Gomez are partners in the Education Counseling, Litigation and Investigation Services and White Collar Litigation and Investigations Groups. Smith’s practice is centered on sexual misconduct, while Gomez specializes on institutional response.

“I am pleased with our board’s swift and astute decision to retain the services of Gina Smith and Leslie Gomez to examine our processes and policies,” said President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez are skilled and experienced investigators who will help us pinpoint where we are strong and where we need to make improvements to ensure the highest degree of integrity to protect the safety and welfare of all our students.”

The decision comes less than two weeks after former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a former Baylor soccer player. Several national media outlets have questioned Baylor’s actions in the aftermath of the incident.

Jeremy Counseller, Professor of Law and Big 12 Faculty Athletics Representative, initially led an internal investigation of Baylor’s handling of the case. Following his discoveries, Baylor chose to proceed with an independent investigation by outside counsel.

When their investigation is complete, Smith and Gomez will present their findings at a special committee of the Board of Regents.