Lawsuit against Baylor develops

The press conference regarding the Title IX suit against Baylor University scheduled for yesterday was canceled due to severe weather in Dallas shutting down flights from California. Zalkin Law Firm, the San Diego based company representing sexual assault victim Jasmin Hernandez, posted the announcement on YouTube instead.

Hernandez was assaulted by Tevin Elliott, former Baylor student and football player in 2012. Elliott was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000 in January of 2014 for two counts of sexual assault.

Hernandez was accompanied by her attorney, Alex Zalkin, and answered questions from press present at the announcement.

Zalkin was not available for comment. He did, however, provide a document announcing the suit, as well as a list of complaints on behalf of Hernandez.

The defendants named were the Baylor University Board of Regents, head football coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw. The document identified both Briles and McCaw as having been in the position to punish Elliott.

“If this is what it takes to make Baylor accountable, of course it’s quite difficult, but it’s necessary,” Hernandez said in the video.

In January, the university was accused of mishandling sexual assault cases in ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” report. In the report three alleged sexual assault victims, one of them being Hernandez (who went by Tanya in the report), spoke out and discussed how they were treated by university faculty and staff in regards to their sexual assault cases.

“The complaint asks for unspecified monetary compensation for physical and emotional damages, past and future medical expenses for therapy and counseling, loss of educational opportunities, loss of potential earning capacity and punitive damages, “ the written statement read.

In addition, Hernandez hopes for the suit to reach deeper and change the process of rape case handling as a whole.

“I’m asking for accountability and, sort of, responsibility for things they are federally obligated to provide to their students,” Hernandez said.

Tevin Elliott is not the only former Baylor athlete convicted of sexual assault. Former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of two counts of sexual assault in August 2015.

“Individual incidents are deeply personal matters that do not benefit from our public statements. Even if a survivor chooses to speak or take other actions to support their healing, we must not publicly comment in a way that could compromise student confidentiality or inadvertently discourage future students from coming forward,” assistant director of Media Communications Tonya Lewis wrote in a statement to the Lariat on Wednesday.

Zalkin Law Firm specializes in sexual assault cases. Hernandez, who moved to Orange County after leaving Baylor, sought their services for the suit filed Wednesday.

A press conference scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. announcing the suit was to be held at the Courtyard by Marriott on 101 Washington Ave.