A former Baylor University volleyball player alleges in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that she was gang raped by as many as eight members of the university’s football team in 2012 and that Baylor officials failed to properly investigate the attack.
The ex-student, identified as Jane Doe, claims that she was drugged at a party that February and taken to an apartment. One of the players allegedly took photos of her as she was assaulted in a semi-conscious state, according to her complaint.
The Waco, Texas, university’s subsequent mishandling of her case amounted to gender discrimination that allowed a hostile sexual culture to flourish, the suit contends. First-year female students, brought to parties by football recruits, would be drugged and raped by other members of the team as a bonding experience, the suit alleges.
Members of the football team began harassing the volleyball player and even burglarized her apartment after her mother informed an assistant football coach of the rape, according to the lawsuit.
“The sexual harassment that Plaintiff suffered was so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively barred her access to educational opportunities and benefits,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit does not name the players accused of the sexual assault, burglary and harassment and lists only the private Baptist university as a defendant.
Baylor officials said in a statement that they’ve been negotiating with the plaintiff’s attorney “in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution.”
The statement said 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 university also pointed to recent reforms put in place to rein in the lawless football program and to improve procedures for investigating campus sexual assaults.
Student victims and investigators have exposed rampant sexual misconduct involving the football program that occurred while Baylor officials often overlooked complaints. More than a dozen women have sued the university for allegedly creating a safe haven for sexual abuse.
In the spring of 2013, Jane Doe contends that she too experienced officials’ indifference to her case. She alleges that she informed then-head football coach Art Briles about the burglary and that her volleyball coach discussed the sexual assault with Briles and then-athletic director Ian McCaw on her behalf. University officials failed to investigate the allegations and wrongly told Doe that it was too late to file criminal charges, according to the lawsuit.
Doe withdrew from Baylor in 2013, citing numerous unbearable and unavoidable interactions with football players in class, around campus and on a university mission trip to Africa.
Briles, McCaw and university President Kenneth Starr all lost their jobs as investigators looked into the far-reaching sex scandal.