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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:00 am

Ex-Baylor athlete claims she was gang raped

JIM VERTUNO | Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas – A new federal lawsuit against Baylor University alleges football players routinely recorded gang rapes and staged dog fights during hazing parties in a program that fostered sexual violence.

A former Baylor volleyball player, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, alleges she was raped by four or more players after being taken from a party where she may have been drugged in 2012. Her lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges the players later burglarized her apartment and harassed her and her family until she left school the next year.

The woman said she told her mother, who gave an assistant football coach a list of players' names, but never heard back. The woman said she later told her head coach, who brought the matter to football coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw.

Her account lines up with previous legal filings by Baylor's Board of Regents that allege Briles, when showed a list of names allegedly involved in the woman's case, replied: “Those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?” and said she should go to the police.

The woman said she didn't tell police about the sex assaults because she believed police would protect the football players, her lawyer told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She told police about football players breaking into her apartment – and police responded by getting her items back, without filing charges.

“This case was always going to be about what Baylor knew, who knew what, and at what time,” he lawyer, Muhammad Aziz, said.

More than a dozen women have now sued Baylor, alleging officials mishandled or ignored sex assault allegations for years. The school is also facing several federal civil rights investigations and a state criminal investigation.

When asked to comment on the latest lawsuit Wednesday, Baylor officials didn't address the specific allegations. But the school released a statement saying officials tried for months to reach a settlement with the woman.

They also noted recent efforts to improve campus response to assault allegations.

“The university's response in no way changes Baylor's position that any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable. Baylor remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community,” the school said.