BU must produce “original documents” on sexual violence, harassment

Baylor Student Union Building. (Baylor University photo/file)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, in an order filed late Wednesday in Austin, ordered Baylor University to “produce original documents—not summaries—related to sexual violence against and sexual harassment of third-party students” dating back to 2003.

Pitman also ordered Baylor to produce the school’s settlement with former Chancellor and President Ken Starr but denied a motion seeking production of information about settlement agreements with former football coach Art Briles, athletic director Ian McCaw and Athletic Department official Tom Hill.

The judge also denied motions seeking information about other student code of conduct violations including those related to drinking and other personal conduct, and communications with NCAA, Big XII and Texas Rangers investigators.

But Pitman ordered Baylor to release an unredacted email in which former Board of Regents Chairman Buddy Jones indicated he wanted a certain student expelled “arguably under the pretext of an underage drinking violation.”

He rejected a motion seeking student documents dating back to Jan. 1, 1996 and instead ordered the school to produce information dating back to Jan. 1, 2003 “approximately a year before the earliest alleged sexual assault.”

“We are aware of the judge’s ruling, and anticipate there will be additional discovery-related motions and rulings as this case continues to evolve," Baylor said in a statement Thursday.

The order stems from an ongoing fight over discovery in a Title IX lawsuit filed against the university by 10 Jane Doe plaintiffs.

In late June, Baylor said in a federal court filing that it would agree to produce a spreadsheet detailing all sexual assaults brought to the attention of the school since 2003 “to the extent the records are available and still exist.”

The motion said the spreadsheet would include the following details about sexual assaults from Jan. 1, 2003 through February 2016, which is the month in which the last of the sexual assaults alleged in the suit occurred.

In his order Wednesday, however, Pitman said, “allowing Baylor to prepare a spreadsheet summarizing third-party reports of sexual assault would almost completely undercut the documents’ value to plaintiffs.”

“The court will therefore order Baylor to produce original documents—not summaries—related to sexual violence against and sexual harassment of third-party students.”

The Jane Doe plaintiffs and the university are in a legal battle over disclosure of the work product and other details stemming from the Pepper Hamilton review of the school’s handling of sexual assaults.

The scathing report the law firm delivered to the school’s Board of Regents in May 2015 led to the firing of Briles, the reassignment of Starr and the suspension of McCaw.

Starr and McCaw later severed ties with the university.

McCaw is now athletic director at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

The regents released a 13-page findings of fact document that didn’t identify any specific cases or name Briles or any other individual.

Baylor maintained that it couldn’t provide any details about the specific cases in which Pepper Hamilton found university and athletic department failures, but five months later, apparently acting on advice of the Los Angeles PR firm G.F. Bunting+Co., made selected regents available for interviews with the Journal, the New York Times, USA Today and Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports.”

A hearing is scheduled Friday to address confidentiality issues raised by the school and issues raised by Baylor regarding Pepper Hamilton materials.

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