The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Lawsuit alleges Baylor officials ignored multiple claims of sexual assault

Former Baylor football player Tevin Elliot is serving a 20-year sentence for raping Jasmin Hernandez (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP, File)

Jasmin Hernandez has filed a lawsuit against Baylor’s board of regents, football coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw, claiming school officials ignored her attempts to report and seek justice after being raped by then-football player Tevin Elliot.

According to the lawsuit, Hernandez was raped by Elliot outside of a party April 15, 2012. The rest of the disturbing details of the crime can be found in the lawsuit. The following day, Hernandez was taken to the hospital and spoke with police after she went back inside and found a friend. Her mother flew out the next day to help her through the coming weeks.

This is where the university’s alleged repeated negligence comes into play.

The lawsuit claims that Hernandez’s mother’s inquiry to the school regarding their mental health services was shot down, saying “they were too busy, and could not see” her daughter. It goes on to say that this happened twice more, once while Hernandez’s mother was speaking with the student health center and again when she rang academic services, who, according to the lawsuit, told her, “even if a plane falls on your daughter, there’s nothing we can do to help you.”

Hernandez’s parents both also called Briles’s office to report the matter but never reached the coach, who never returned their calls.

The lawsuit also notes that the school did not have a Title IX coordinator at the time of Hernandez’s rape, thrusting Baylor Chief Judicial Officer, Bethany McCraw, into the role. McCraw confirmed in a meeting with another female identified as “Jane Roe” and her mother that she was “sixth female student to come in to McCraw’s office to report that they had been sexually assaulted by Elliott” and that there was nothing that could be done unless the case was won in court.

When the two asked about a restraining order, “McCraw responded that all she could do was send a letter to Elliott informing him that he was not to come near Roe, and “then you kind of hope for the best,” according to the lawsuit.

Elliot was ultimately allowed to remain on campus until his dismissal from the team and transfer in the summer of 2012. Baylor would not hire a Title IX coordinator until 2014. Elliot is currently serving 20 years in prison for his rape of Hernandez.

The lawsuit alleges that, based on the information at-hand, the school “failed to properly train and educate their employees … in appropriate response to allegations of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and retaliatory conduct, as well as necessary Title IX policies and procedures.”