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 of players allegedly involved in the woman’s case, replied: “Those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?” and said the woman 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, according to the lawsuit.
“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.
Aziz declined to detail previous settlement talks with Baylor. The school has reached financial settlements with at least three other women who alleged mishandled sex assault allegations.
The latest lawsuit, which doesn’t identify the accused players, alleges Baylor football players had freshmen players bring girls to parties where they would be drugged and gang raped. The attacks were often recorded so video and photos could be shared by players, who bragged about their experiences, according to the lawsuit.
“The gang rapes were considered a ‘bonding’ experience for the football players,” the lawsuit states.
The suit alleges the woman confirmed at least one video exists of several Baylor football players gang raping two female students, and that the video was circulated among football players. Football parties also routinely staged dog fighting, the lawsuit alleged.
Briles, who was fired in May 2016, has long denied any wrongdoing as lawsuit were filed alleging a culture of sexual violence in his program.
Aziz said his client was hesitated to sue, even though her allegations were referenced in other lawsuits and legal filings.
“For a long time there was a reluctance to take action, after something like this happens if they stop thinking about it perhaps it would go away,” Aziz said. “But for her it did not go away.”