Fifty-two rapes? That’s shocking. If true, it’s outrageous. And according to the suit filed by “Elizabeth Doe,” they happened at Baylor University.
A former Baylor University student who says she was raped by two football players filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the school that alleges there were dozens more assaults of women involving other players.
The lawsuit by the student, who is listed in the documents only as “Elizabeth Doe,” alleges at least 52 rapes by more than 30 football players over a four-year period.
It also alleges a “culture of sexual violence” and describes her 2013 attack by two players. It doesn’t detail the other alleged attacks, but says some were recorded by the players, who shared them with friends.
Baylor has had issues, including those leading to its president, Kenneth Starr’s, departure. But if this is accurate, it reflects a conspiracy of monumental proportions.
In the lawsuit filed Friday, the woman alleges being raped by two players in 2013. The attack was reported to Waco police but no charges were filed and the players were allowed to stay on the team at the time.
According to the lawsuit, campus officials didn’t investigate her case until 2015. One of the players involved was suspended from the team and later expelled. The other had transferred.
But that addresses the one instance. What of the others?
The lawsuit alleges the football program operated under a “show’em a good time” policy that “used sex to sell” Baylor to high school recruits.
The woman was a member of a campus group called the Baylor Bruins that would host prospective athletes during visits. The lawsuit alleges Baylor encouraged making Baylor Bruins available for sex with recruits, as well as taking recruits to strip clubs, implied promises of sex and using alcohol and drugs in the recruiting process.
If true, this not only grotesquely violates NCAA rules, a minor point under the circumstances, but would be a shocking conspiracy of players, coaches, Baylor students, that seems almost impossible to have kept concealed. Baylor, of course, denies that this happened.
Art Briles’ attorney Ernest Cannon denied the program culture described in the lawsuit.
“If they were doing that it would be terrible, but they weren’t doing that. Art wasn’t involved in anything like that,” Cannon said. “Lawyers have great imaginations when money is involved. It’s really sad.”
The “lawyers” and “money” retort is cheap. The complaint alleges that Baylor desperately wanted a winning football team, this being Waco, Texas and there not being much else to do other than arresting bikers. So they hired a new coach, Art Briles, who turned the football program around and made Baylor players into campus celebrities. But allegedly at a price:
While Briles’ players were being hyped as celebrities on campus and around Waco, behind the scenes the players engaged in more than just sports. From 2009-2015, BAYLOR football players were responsible for numerous crimes involving violent physical assault, armed robbery, burglary, drugs, guns, and, notably, the most widespread culture of sexual violence and abuse of women ever reported in a collegiate athletic program.
Not just a culture of “sexual violence,” but armed robbery, drugs and guns? How much worse could this get?
Is this possible? Well, sure. Anything is possible, though it is remarkably hard to imagine that this could be happening, with as many people involved as would appear from the complaint, and it somehow remain a big Baylor secret.
Either way, allegations of this sort do not demonstrate a pervasive problem anywhere but Baylor. And if it’s true at Baylor, that the football program recruited its players by offering up the “white women,” not to mention the occasional armed robbery, and that Waco police were too busy shooting at Bikers to bother with Baylor, then it needs to be investigated by an outside agency for a trusted determination.
This is either huge and horrible in its occurrence or in its false allegations. Either way, it needs to be determined and resolved. Allegations like this shouldn’t be left to private litigation.