Baylor settles 2016 sexual assault lawsuit with 15 survivors

Baylor University has settled a yearslong federal lawsuit introduced by 15 ladies who alleged they have been sexually assaulted on the nation’s greatest Baptist faculty, ending the biggest case introduced in a wide-ranging scandal that led to the ouster of college president Ken Starr and soccer coach Art Briles, and tainted the varsity’s fame.

Notification of the settlement was filed in on-line court docket information Monday. The lawsuit was first filed in June 2016.

Among the 15 plaintiffs was a girl who alleged being assaulted by a soccer participant in April 2014, a girl who reported that two soccer gamers assaulted her in April 2016 and a girl who mentioned a participant on the rugby staff — a membership sport at Baylor — assaulted her in fall 2012, based on the complaints.

The lawsuit was one in all a number of that have been filed that alleged employees and directors ignored or stifled experiences from ladies who mentioned they have been assaulted on or close to campus.

Among the early claims from some ladies within the lawsuit have been that college officers typically used the campus conduct code that banned alcohol, medicine and premarital intercourse to strain ladies to not report being attacked. Another beforehand settled lawsuit alleged Baylor fostered a “hunting ground for sexual predators.”

The phrases of the settlement introduced Monday weren’t disclosed.

“We are deeply sorry for anyone connected with the Baylor community who has been harmed by sexual violence,” Baylor University mentioned in an announcement. “While we can never erase the reprehensible acts of the past, we pray that this agreement will allow these 15 survivors to move forward in a supportive manner.”

The scandal erupted in 2015 and 2016 with assault allegations made towards soccer gamers. The faculty employed Philadelphia legislation agency Pepper Hamilton to analyze the way it dealt with these assaults and others.

The legislation agency’s report decided that below the management of Starr, Baylor did little to answer accusations of sexual assault involving soccer gamers over a number of years. It additionally raised broader questions of how the varsity responded to sexual assault claims throughout campus.

Starr, the previous prosecutor who led the investigation of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, was eliminated as president and later left the college. He died in 2022.

Also fired was Briles, who denied he coated up sexual violence in his program. Briles had led this system to a Big 12 championship, however he has not returned to main school teaching; most not too long ago, he was employed to educate in a brand new spring skilled league with three groups within the United States and three in Mexico.

Baylor officers have mentioned the varsity has made sweeping modifications to the way it addresses sexual assault claims and victims in response to the Pepper Hamilton report. That report has by no means been absolutely launched publicly, regardless of efforts by the ladies suing the varsity to pressure it into the open.

Chad Dunn, an legal professional for the ladies who settled Monday, mentioned the lawsuit and scandal went far past the issues within the soccer program that captured early consideration.

“Their bravery and strength has created legal precedents that empower others to gain relief from the injuries inflicted by their universities, while also securing safer education environments for future generations,” Dunn mentioned.

“Baylor’s focus of media attention on football tried to misdirect attention from institutional failures of the Baylor administration. Our clients would have none of that. Their determination brought the focus on officials in the ivory tower and ‘the Baylor way.’ “

Information from ESPN’s Paula Lavigne and The Associated Press was used on this report.

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