By Kalyn Story | Print Managing Editor
Jane Doe 1-10
Over 400 motions have been filed in the main sexual violence case remaining against Baylor, known as “Jane Doe 1-10.” The latest one, filed by Baylor on Aug. 13, asks U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman to limit the scope of questioning in depositions to focus on the purpose of the case.
The motion highlights that this Title IX case is about whether the 10 Jane Doe plaintiffs were sexually assaulted, whether Baylor responded with deliberate indifference to their alleged assaults, if female students before them were mistreated such that a “heightened risk” of sexual assault was created and whether any such “heightened risk” was an actual cause of the plaintiffs’ alleged assaults.
In the motion, Baylor argues that, based on questions asked during depositions, the lawsuit appears to be about whether there is “division” among members of the Board of Regents regarding operation of the university, how the regents managed the sexual assault investigation conducted by Pepper Hamilton, whether the regents accurately assessed the investigation and whether the regents made fair employment decisions after the investigation.
Jim Dunnam, plaintiff attorney, said the motion is an attempt from Baylor to conceal information and shield themselves from answering questions they don’t want to answer.
“This in a disingenuous motion,” Dunnam said. “Baylor does not want information to come out showing their gross misconduct.”
For example, Dunnam said Baylor has admitted to failing to implement Title IX but they do not want to expand on that.
“Baylor doesn’t want to tell us how they failed to implement Title IX, how they failed to protect students or who is responsible for those failures,” Dunnam said.
The case alleges inappropriate responses to reports of sexual assault from Baylor officials between 2004 and 2016 and claims it created a dangerous environment.
The case was originally scheduled to be heard in court this October but has been pushed back to the fall of 2019. The attorneys have been going back and forth in discovery for more than two years.
Since 2015, Baylor has been involved in a sexual assault scandal with allegations of mistreatment going back over a decade. The scandal has resulted in major leadership changes, including the firing of former University President Ken Starr and former head football coach Art Briles. Baylor is now in what it calls “the resolution phase” of the scandal and its aftermath. This summer, that phase has continued in several ways.
Baylor hired the Pepper Hamilton law firm in fall 2015 to conduct an independent review of Baylor’s institutional response and compliance to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The nine-month investigation ultimately found that Baylor failed to implement Title IX policies and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA). Pepper Hamilton provided Baylor with 105 recommendations, all of which have been structurally implemented as of May 2017.
This July, former Baylor University Athletics Director Ian McCaw accused Baylor’s campus police and Richard Willis, former chairman of the Board of Regents, of hindering the processes of reporting sexual assaults.
McCaw, now the athletic director at Liberty University, was deposed as part of a deferral Title IX discrimination lawsuit looking into the university’s response to reports of sexual violence.
In his almost 400-page deposition, McCaw accused the Board of Regents of being racist and releasing a phony report in 2016 regarding Baylor’s response to sexual violence.
At a press conference following the Board of Regents meeting in July, Chairman of the Board of Regents Joel Allison said he has not seen any facts that support those accusations.
“Those are accusations, allegations,” Allison said. “I don’t see them substantiated by facts. That’s not been my experience as a board member. And while they’re serious allegations, I haven’t seen the facts behind it.”
The university responded to McCaw’s claims, saying it is confident in the changes made following the Pepper Hamilton investigation and in the university’s current leadership.
“Despite the numerous, factually baseless assertions in Mr. McCaw’s deposition, one fact remains — several incidents of sexual and interpersonal violence involving student-athletes were reported during his tenure as athletics director,” Baylor said in a statement on July 20. “It was the Baylor Board of Regents that stepped up and took action, launching an independent investigation — by the nation’s top sexual assault experts — of not only the football program, but of the entire campus in terms of how reports of sexual violence were handled over a specific period. The results of this investigation were outlined in a Findings of Fact document that led to sweeping leadership changes and a slate of 105 campus-wide recommendations for improvement, which have since been completed.”
In the deposition, McCaw said he was “disgusted” by racism on the board, which he claimed caused the board to use the football program as a “scapegoat” in the sexual assault scandal.
“Mr. McCaw’s unsubstantiated claims of a conspiracy by regents, racism and scapegoating at Baylor are bizarre, blatantly false and nothing more than speculation and gossip of which he has no firsthand knowledge,” the university said.
In the same July press conference, Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone stated her confidence in the Pepper Hamilton investigation and the work the university has done in response.
“I think that we’re very confident the facts in those situations have not changed, and that the decisions that the board made at the time those facts were released were the right decisions,” Livingstone said. “We stand by those decisions as an institution and we also feel very good about the ongoing work that the university has done to implement the recommendations that came out of the work of Pepper Hamilton.”
At the beginning of August, Briles accepted a job coaching an American football team in Florence, Italy.
This will be Briles’s first full-time coaching job since he was fired from Baylor in 2016. Last August, Briles was briefly hired by a Canadian Football league team, but the Hamilton Tiger Cats rescinded its offer later that day in response to international backlash.
Briles told the Fort Worth Star Telegram that his role in the Baylor scandal did not come up much in his talks with the Italian team.
Briles’ contract is flexible and allows him to return to the U.S. to accept a coaching position if an opportunity presents itself.
“I’m a football coach and it’s all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever really had a passion to do; this gives me a chance to be on the field and between the lines,” Briles told the Fort Worth newspaper. “(This is) a situation where I can build a team over there and it’s inspiring to me. … It’s a situation where I can stay active this fall as a coach and as a person be involved in the game. Who knows what the future holds? It’s a golden opportunity for me to get on the field and be involved. I’m jacked about it.”
Briles still maintains his innocence in the Baylor scandal.
“I would have done more if I had known more,” Briles said in an interview with the Fort Worth Star Telegram. “When these allegations came out, we found out at the same time you did. I had a meeting with the (Baylor) Board of Regents where I made suggestions that I never had the chance to fulfill; it would have been similar in the NFL that handles the discipline problems that took it out of the football coaches’ hands.”
Briles says he has not been given a clear reason as to why he was fired by Baylor. He cites his $18 million settlement as evidence of his innocence.
“I’m not sure I was not fired for Baylor’s PR purposes,” he said. “I can’t explain why they would give me a substantial amount of money or pay out a lot of other employees. And I understand contracts. People can make their own decisions.”
In a statement, Baylor clarified the situation that led to Pepper Hamilton investigation and leadership changes.
“The underlying situation of what happened at Baylor is quite simple. Two high-profile cases of sexual assault involving football players led the Baylor Board of Regents to launch an independent investigation of not only the football program but of the entire campus in terms of how reports of sexual violence were handled during a four-year period,” the university stated. “The results of this investigation were outlined in a Findings of Fact document that led to sweeping leadership changes and a slate of 105 recommendations for improvement.”
The Department of Education, the Office of Civil Rights, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Big 12 and the Texas Rangers are currently investigating Baylor.
In July, Livingstone said that Baylor is cooperating fully with all investigations.
She said the university does not have a timetable for when it expects the Department of Education or NCAA investigations will be resolved, but is hopeful that the Big 12 investigation will be resolved in the near future.
“We continue to be cooperative as we can be, providing them with all of the information they are requesting, giving access to any of the individuals they want to speak with,” Livingstone said.