By Reagan Ebb | Staff Writer
Judge Robert Pitman is considering a motion filed Wednesday by the attorneys for 10 alleged sexual assault victims that would force Baylor to release more information from reported assaults.
Waco attorney Jim Dunnam wants a list of reported assaults not filtered based on any determination by Title IX, Judicial Affairs or Student Conduct “whether or not the conduct complained of happened or did not happen.”
The motion also asks that the list includes the date of the reported incident and the person or entity to whom the report was initially made. A proposed order, Document 248-1, for the judge to sign was filed at the same time, as required by law.
Court Document 248 said the order of events, including the time of alleged assaults and when Baylor had knowledge of the reports, will be definitive to resolving the cases.
“Baylor University continues to maintain our position of keeping discovery in this case focused on the claims of the plaintiffs who have sued and preventing the disclosure of nonparty student records, such as confidential medical and counseling records,” the university said in a statement Thursday night.
The judge ordered Baylor to respond to the plaintiff’s motion by Jan. 15.
The motion also seeks to clarify the definitions of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The multiple women, named in the suit as “Jane Doe 1-10,” claiming sexual assault have turned to Title IX for defining forms of misconduct in the past. The plaintiffs wish to use the definitions stated by Title IX policies. On the other hand, Baylor wants to utilize a more limited definition.
The phrase “sexual assault” is a broad term with multiple implications, and the Jane Does feel it is important to define an exact definition, according to the motion.
“Plaintiffs are concerned without specificity, defendant will use their own interpretation,” Court Document 248 said.
Baylor defines “prohibited conduct” as all forms of interaction that violate policies laid out by Title IX. According to the document the plaintiffs believe that all forms of unwanted sexual penetration, unwanted touching, verbal harassment and gender-based harassment should be included in the court’s definition of sexual assault. The document states that without a clear definition the plaintiffs fear that Baylor will use its own interpretation of the term. With this motion, the included criminal acts of misconduct will provide clarity for both parties moving forward.
In regards to the Title IX office at Baylor, new leadership is on the horizon this year. After former Coordinator Patty Crawford resigned from her position in July 2017, Kristan Tucker was nominated as coordinator. After only a few months, Tucker stepped down from her position. Baylor has not given any reason for her resignation.
Baylor announced Maureen Holland will serve as the interim Title IX Coordinator until someone has filled the position. Holland worked as a consultant for the Cozen O’Connor law firm specializing in education law and civil rights investigations. She previously served as a member of the Pepper Hamilton law firm, who led the investigations leading up to the resignation of former university president Ken Starr.
Correction: January 12, 2018.
This article has been revised to reflect the following: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Judge Robert Pitman signed the order specified in Document 248. The order, however, has not been signed by the judge. It is awaiting a response from Baylor, which must be filed by Jan. 15. The judge will then make a ruling.