A new lawsuit alleges that members of the Baylor football team hazed freshman recruits by having them bring freshman women to parties so they could be drugged and gang-raped as a “bonding” experience for the players.
The Title IX lawsuit, the seventh filed against Baylor over the actions of its football players, was filed in U.S. District Court by an anonymous former Baylor volleyball player who claims that Bears football players took turns raping her after a party in February 2012:
“During the party, Plaintiff’s friend saw one football player trying to pull Plaintiff into a bathroom several times. Plaintiff recalls that another Baylor football player kept grabbing at her throughout the night and she repeatedly told him ‘no.’ The day before, Plaintiff had repeatedly declined the football player’s requests to ‘hook up’ with him.”
“At some point after Plaintiff’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!’”
“These girls affected by this are seeking their day in court,” Houston lawyer Muhammad Aziz, who represents the plaintiff, told the Waco Tribune. “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.”
The woman, identified as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit, also alleges in the lawsuit that Baylor’s football players photographed and created video of the gang rapes, with at least one 21-second video of two female Baylor students being raped circulated among the players. The assaults were an ingrained part of the football team’s culture before the woman arrived at Baylor, according to the lawsuit:
“Prior to plaintiff’s arrival at Baylor, members of the Baylor football team had already developed a system of hazing their freshman recruits by having them bring or invite freshman females to house parties hosted by members of the football team. At these parties, the girls would be drugged and gang raped, or in the words of the football players, ‘trains’ would be run on the girls.
‘The gang rapes were considered a ‘bonding’ experience for the football players.”
The woman also says the players who raped her sent her and her family harassing text messages after her mother approached an assistant football coach about the allegations in 2012. Although the mother gave the coach the names of players who allegedly were involved in the attack, she said she never heard from him again. The Baylor student then was forced to attend classes with two of the players, the lawsuit alleges, despite the school being aware of the allegations against them.
She also alleges that Baylor football parties often included dogfighting and that one dog nearly died as the result of its injuries from one fight.
After an investigation conducted by an outside law firm, Baylor fired football coach Art Briles and school president Ken Starr and accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Ian McCaw. A previous lawsuit against the school, filed in January, alleges that Baylor’s players committed 52 rapes, including five gang rapes involving 10 or more players at once, between 2011 and 2014 and that team coaches fostered the assaults by encouraging the players to hold wild parties to attract recruits.
In a statement to the Tribune, Baylor said it had been trying to reach a resolution with the woman who filed the latest lawsuit for “many months.”
“As this case proceeds, Baylor maintains its ability to present facts — as available to the University — in response to the allegations contained in the legal filing,” the statement said. “The University’s response in no way changes Baylor’s position 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.”