WACO, Texas (KWTX) Many recall the 2016 Baylor University sex assault scandal was largely blamed on out-of-control football players and the alleged failures of former Head Coach Art Briles.
(Baylor University photo/file)
KWTX, however, was the first to report, as early as September of 2016 that the football team may have only played a very minor role in any documented sexual assaults on Baylor students.
KWTX has now gained exclusive access to a copy of a little publicized, 2014 consultant study, critical of Baylor University’s failure to comply with federal policies and laws, many designed to protect co-eds from sexual abuse.
It’s called the Margolis Healy, Title IX Review and Clery Act Compliance Assessment (See the full Margolis Healy report under the "Related Documents" in the sidebar to this story).
The 115-page report was commissioned by Baylor University officials 2014 in response to a growing number of sexual assault complaints.
Its findings started the ball rolling on what would later lead to the firing of head football coach Art Briles, the dismissal of two athletics officials and the sacking of one of the top college football programs in the country.
But a closer review of that report reveals years of failures by University officials to fully adopt federal laws and guidelines governing student safety.
”Title IX was ignored for years and years”
It’s a cold, rainy Friday night in Tyler, Texas
On the sidelines of a Tyler Lee High School football game, assistant trainer Colin Shillinglaw assists one of his young football players with an injury.
Shillinglaw, 55, is happy to have a job but he’s a world away from Baylor University where he once served as Director of Football Operations.
He was one of two athletic program officials forced to leave the University along with Briles in the wake of the 2016 Baylor sex scandal.
Shillinglaw says he was never given a reason for his release and ultimately forced into financial ruin.
Because he was linked to the Baylor scandal, Shillinglaw feels he will never work in college football again.
Meanwhile, in Waco, Tom Hill, 54, Baylor’s former associate athletic director, is trying to start a new career working on a real estate venture.
Hill was fired as a result of the sex scandal and also believes he will never work in college athletics again.
“There are days when I feel like weeping,” said Hill.
Hill’s firing was especially devastating because his foster child, Clint Lewis, is a beloved team mascot who still leads football players out onto the field every home game.
Like Shillinglaw, Hill says he was never told why he was being blamed for the Baylor sex scandal.
“Possibly one of the biggest mistakes they could have made was letting an innocent person who is ingrained in this community go like they did me,” said Hill.
“It shows the fallacy and the corruptness of what went on.”
Hill is still upset, not only over his firing by Baylor administration, but also over national media reports depicting many of the football players as out-of-control or gang-rapists.
But when the controversy settled only two football players were convicted of sexual assaults during Briles’ tenure at Baylor.
Hill is also upset over information contained in the Margolis Healy report, which says that while Baylor had taken several significant steps to comply with the federal guidelines and laws, deficiencies existed at the University for years and still presented problems such as:
* “During our interviews, we sensed significant resistance towards implementing interim measures…”
* “Baylor does not have the requisite resources committed to the compliance program.”
* “The University has not identified, notified or certified its campus security authorities… who were either unaware of their responsibilities or unclear” of their duties under the Clery Act.”
“I didn’t know anything about the Clery Act,” said Hill.
“I was working at Baylor for 28-years and I had no idea about a Margolis Healy report.”
In a CBS “60 Minutes Sports” report from 2016, the University’s first, full-time, Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford discussed how many alleged victims and crimes went unreported.
The following is an exchange between Crawford and CBS reporter Armen Keteyian for the segment:
ARMEN KETEYIAN: You were hired in November of 2014. How many women came into your office during that two-year period and alleged some form of sexual assault or sexual violence that were students at Baylor.
PATTY CRAWFORD: Hundreds. Hundreds.
Waco attorney Jim Dunnam represents 15 current or former alleged victims of sexual harassment or assault at Baylor.
“We found that Title IX was ignored for years and years,” said Dunnam.
Dunnam has read the Margolis Healy Compliance Assessment report.
He says he believes Baylor University officials, not the athletic department, deserve most of the blame for the failure to protect female students.
“I think we’ve all seen that must have been the priority because everyone ignored Title IX for years,” said Dunnam.
“We’ve had people who resisted Title IX for various reasons and they didn’t even have a Title IX coordinator until 2015.”
Baylor University officials declined an on-camera interview with KWTX.
But in an email response they defended their handling of the scandal.
Baylor officials say they acted immediately to implement all of the Margolis Healy report’s 51 recommendations.
Their actions included the addition of 11 commissioned officers and two dispatchers to the Baylor University Police Department.
They report that all BUPD investigators take Texas Sexual Assault Family Violence Investigators Certification Course and the Victim-Centered Interviewing and Forensic Interview trainings.
They also report the University hired a victim advocate to assist complainants throughout the investigative processes.
But when asked if anyone outside of the athletics department was disciplined, Baylor had no comment.
That, despite the “Board of Regents Findings of Fact”, released in 2016, following the Pepper Hamilton investigation, nearly two years after the Margolis Healy report.
The “Findings of Fact” contain page after page of harsh criticisms such as:
* “the University as a whole failed”
* “Baylor failed to provide training and education to students…” and “…employees”.
* “Institutional failures at every level of Baylor’s administration directly impacted the response to individual cases and the Baylor community as a whole.”
Dunnam says evidence continues to mount suggesting administrators, many still with the University, helped convince the public that Athletic Department officials were largely to blame for the scandal.
“Someone is going to have to answer for these decisions, no one has so far because they still remain at Baylor University,” said Dunnam.
Meanwhile Shillinglaw and Hill each try to start new careers, unable to find work in college athletics or escape the blame for a scandal they feel others should have prevented.
“I love the university but I think there’s some people who need to be held accountable,” said Hill.