A former Baylor University student filed a lawsuit on Friday alleging that 31 Baylor football players committed a staggering 52 acts of rape from 2011 to 2014, including five gang rapes involving 10 players or more at the same time. The plaintiff in the suit also alleged that she was gang-raped by two former Baylor football players in 2013.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, a 2014 graduate of Baylor University and a former member of the Baylor Bruins recruiting hostess program, identified by the pseudonym Elizabeth Doe in court documents, is suing Baylor for Title IX violations and negligence, according to Dallas News.
She alleges that she was raped by Bears lineman Tre’Von Armstead and linebacker Shamycheal Chatman after attending a party hosted by the former Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman on April 18, 2013.
Oakman has also been charged with sexual assault in an unrelated case.
The plaintiff claims that Armstead and Chatman took her to her apartment after the party. Because she was “very intoxicated” at the time she did not remember how she got to her apartment. She alleges that the men raped her at her apartment and that she was too drunk at the time to give consent.
Doe initially denied being sexually assaulted but she later made a complaint to the Waco Police Department, although she declined to press charges. Dallas News reports that Armstead and Chatman were named as suspects in a Waco Police Department report about the rape but they were never charged.
But now the woman has sued Baylor University for Title IX violations and negligence. Title IX federal law requires universities to act proactively to protect students from sexual violence and investigate allegations of sexual assault. But Baylor failed to investigate her allegations for more than two years, the lawsuit claims.
However, during the period, Chatman was transferred to Sam Houston State, but Armstead remained on the campus.
According to the lawsuit, Doe returned to the campus living in “daily fear of running into her rapist and in fact did just that on repeat occasions.”
When Baylor’s Title IX office eventually investigated Doe’s complaint Armstead was not found guilty of sexual assault but of “team rules violation.” But he was later found guilty of rape and expelled.
According to the plaintiff, Chatman had previously been accused of rape but the university authorities failed to investigate the allegation. A student athletic trainer had alleged that Chatman raped her, but the authorities only transferred the alleged victim to a female sports team and offered to pay for her education under a non-disclosure agreement, court documents claim.
The lawsuit claims the existence of an established culture of sexual violence promoted by the university’s policy of using sex to sell the institution’s football program to prospective recruits.
The university, according to the lawsuit, implemented a “show ’em a good time” policy that used the promise of sex with white women to lure top football recruits to the university.
“Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players,” former assistant coach Kendall Briles, son of the university’s former head coach Art Briles, once asked a prospective recruit, according to the lawsuit.
Baylor reportedly avoided addressing the specific allegations contained in the lawsuit.
“Our hearts go out to any victims of sexual assault. Any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable,” read Baylor’s official response released Friday by the interim university president David E. Garland. “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.”
The allegation contained in the lawsuit that 31 Baylor football players committed 52 acts of rape from 2011 to 2014 is much higher than the school has acknowledged in the past. According to the Wall Street Journal, following an investigation in 2016 by a Pennsylvania-based law firm, Pepper Hamilton, university officials said that the school authorities were aware of only 17 women who reported sexual assaults committed by 19 players since 2011, including four allegations of gang rape.
But John Clune, a Colorado attorney representing the plaintiff, acknowledged that Baylor has since done a lot about the alleged sexual assault epidemic on its campus. But he insisted that his plaintiff’s case was “one that needed to be filed.”
[Featured Image by Tony Gutierrez/AP Images]