We have been following the situation with Baylor’s failure to appropriately, and actually, deal with the rape culture thriving at the school and within its football program. It is one of the ugliest examples of blatant disregard by an academic institution.
On Friday, another bombshell was dropped.
A new lawsuit surfaced against the school, filed by a former student known as Elizabeth Doe, which alleges that from 2011 through 2014, there were 52 “acts of rape” committed by 31 different players in the football program. Elizabeth Doe, who graduated in 2014, states that she was raped by two of those players in 2013, players who were named as suspects but who were never charged by police.
The two players, Tre’Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman, were accused by Doe of gang-raping her after a party in April of 2013. She also says that Chatman had been accused of rape previously by a student-athletic trainer and instead of taking action against Chatman, the school swept it under the rug by moving the trainer over to women’s sports programs and offering to “pay for her education in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement.”
The lawsuit goes on to describe the win-first mentality of the program and how the football program encouraged a culture of “show ’em a good time” in regards to their recruits.
The damaging lawsuit claims the coaches “arranged for women to have sex with recruits on their official campus visits,” and used the hostess program, The Baylor Bruins, as another method of catering to recruits through engaging in sexual activities. It also went on to say that “women, alcohol and illegal drugs” were arranged to be present at parties attended by recruits and that gang rapes by athletes occurred at these same parties.
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According to CBS Sports, of the “…52 acts of rape alleged in the lawsuit were five gang rapes with two of those five consisting of 10 or more Baylor football players at one time. Some of those incidents were recorded with video shared with teammates.”
John Clune, the plaintiff’s attorney, stated, “As hard as the events at Baylor have been for people to hear, what went on there was much worse than has been reported. We do still appreciate the progress that Baylor has made and know that the school will be a better place when this case is over.”
In response to the lawsuit, interim Baylor president David Garland released the following statement:
Our hearts go out to any victims of sexual assault. Any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable. Baylor University has taken unprecedented actions that have been well-documented in response to the issue of past and alleged sexual assaults involving our campus community. We have made great progress in implementing 105 recommendations to strengthen the safety and security of all students and restore faith in the University, in addition to searching for a new president and the hiring of athletic director Mack Rhoades and head football coach Matt Rhule who reflect the highest levels of character and integrity. Baylor has made a strong commitment to a values-driven culture in accordance with our Christian mission.
We spoke with author Jessica Luther last fall about the rape culture in college football, a disturbing occurrence she discussed in her book Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape. Luther was personally involved in breaking the story at Baylor, so her first-hand knowledge of what was happening was significant. She told us, “The finding of facts said the coaching staff would meet with these women and try to intervene, which is a very strange and inappropriate thing for an athletic staff to be doing. They weren’t reporting it up the chain, which is huge. They should have been telling someone who is supposed to be in charge of these things.
“Art Briles took the blame as the head coach, but there was an entire culture there, where they were like, ‘We see what you’re doing. We’re not going to do anything about it. Everything will keep going. If you do get in trouble, we’ll tell the media you’ve got some issues, and no one’s gonna talk about it.'”
Former head football coach Art Briles was fired in May. He proceeded to accuse the university of unfairly blaming him and the football program for the school’s overall “institutional failure” in addressing sexual assault.
With this new lawsuit being filed, Baylor’s problems are not going away anytime soon, and rightfully so.