The bottom just keeps falling at Baylor University.
On Tuesday night, the Christian university was served with its seventh Title IX lawsuit. This one was filed by a former volleyball player, “Jane Doe,” who accuses more than a half dozen football players of drugging her and taking turns raping her in 2012.
Following the alleged gang rape at an off-campus apartment, Doe recalls the players yelling, “Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!” And according to her lawsuit, this wasn’t an isolated incident. The suit alleges that the football team systematically hazed freshmen recruits by asking them to run “trains” on freshmen girls at their parties — in other words, inviting girls to parties in order to drug and gang rape them.
Between 2011 and 2014, there were at least 52 alleged acts of rape, including five gang rapes, by at least 31 different football players. Two of those involved 10 or more players, and some of them were recorded.
The football program makes up less than one percent of Baylor’s student population, and yet a former Title IX investigator at the school said it was responsible for nearly one-third of her sexual assault cases.
The lawsuit focuses on Baylor’s insidious rape culture, which it says flourished in tandem with the rise of the football program after hiring head coach Art Briles in 2007.
Doe says that football players used gang rapes as “bonding” rituals, and that photos and videos of semi-conscious girls being gang raped were often circulated among the players. Along with gang rape, dog fighting was prevalent at parties hosted by Baylor football players, she alleges.
According to the suit, on February 11, 2012, Doe went to a house party at an off-campus apartment complex hosted by Baylor football players. She consumed a “few drinks” over the course of the night, and at one point she says she “became very intoxicated and was unable to remember certain parts of the night.” She believes she was drugged by football players.
One of the players at the party had asked Doe to “hook up” the previous day, but she repeatedly denied that request. At the party, Doe remembers him grabbing her frequently despite her protestations.
Doe’s friend, who eventually left the party, witnessed another football player trying to pull Doe into a bathroom multiple times throughout the night.
At some point after Doe’s friends left the party, Plaintiff remembers one football player picking her up, putting her in his vehicle, and taking her somewhere. It was there that at least four Baylor football players brutally gang raped Plaintiff. Plaintiff remembers lying on her back, unable to move and staring at glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling as the football players took turns raping her. Following the gang rape, Plaintiff remembers hearing the players yell, “Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!”
Doe woke up the following morning in her friend’s apartment, and felt “confused, hurt, and embarrassed.” She alleges that after the assault, she was verbally abused and harassed by the Baylor football players, and says they told her she had “wanted it” that night. One player said that naked photos of her were taken during the rape.
She told her mother about the gang rape at the end of the spring 2012 semester, and her mother called an assistant football coach and provided him with a list of the players who were involved with the assault. She never heard from the coach again.
But the assistant coach did reportedly spoke with some of the players involved, who admitted to “fooling around” and having “play time” with Doe. The coach concluded that the accusations were a “gray area.”
The football players allegedly retaliated against Doe for reporting the gang rape to the coach, creating fake telephone numbers to harass her and her family through text messages. She was forced to face her rapists all around campus — including in classes and during practice and training sessions, since the Baylor football team and women’s volleyball team shared facilities. In April 2013, she was robbed by Baylor football players. She reported the robbery to the Waco Police Department, and the players had to return her belongings, though charges were not filed.
If the Baylor football player gang rape allegations weren't enough … pic.twitter.com/QGYpgkSCKa
— Paula Lavigne (@pinepaula) May 17, 2017
She continued to be harassed by the football players, and in late April, she reported the assault to the the head women’s volleyball coach, who met with Briles and gave him a list of the players involved.
Briles allegedly looked at the list of names and said, “those are some bad dudes … why was she around those guys?” In addition to the assistant football coach, Briles, and the volleyball coach, the Title IX suit alleges that athletic director Ian McCaw and Baylor’s Football Chaplain were also informed about the gang rape. Doe was repeatedly discouraged from reporting it to the authorities.
After taking a mission trip with one football player, who told her that up to eight football players participated in gang raping her, she withdrew from the university in the spring of 2013.
The suit alleges that “Baylor’s officials permitted a campus condition rife with sexual assault and completely lacking the basic standards of support for victims as required by federal and state law.” It also says that on campus, football coaches “developed, enabled, and encouraged a culture … in which players were ‘above the law.’”
“These girls affected by this are seeking their day in court,” Houston lawyer Muhammad Aziz, who represents the plaintiff, told the Waco Tribune on Wednesday. “We thought about this a lot, and me and my client thought about it and discussed it. Eventually, we decided to proceed. Really, what we are seeking to enforce is just a safe education environment for the girls at the school.”