Liberty, Baylor reach different conclusions about alleged gang-rape
In hiring former Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw, Liberty University officials apparently rejected the claims of Baylor regents that McCaw failed to report a nine-month-old gang-rape allegation.
The university announced Monday that it hired McCaw to succeed Jeff Barber, who announced on Nov. 17 that he was resigning effective immediately.
“We concluded after our investigation that Ian McCaw did not attempt to hide the sexual assault that was reported but, instead, had one of his coaches report it to Judicial Affairs at Baylor in 2013, in accordance with Baylor’s policies and procedures at the time. The victim did not want the incident reported to police so Judicial Affairs was the only place the incident could have been reported at that time,” Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., said in a question-and-answer session with the school’s news service.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation have confirmed to KWTX that the woman’s coach did call the office and that he was told that the office could do nothing because the woman and her family did not want to pursue the case.
The coach is not currently able to speak publicly about the incident, but sources familiar with the case told KWTX earlier that he called the Judicial Affairs Office, asked how to report a rape, and was told that they could only move forward with the woman’s cooperation.
The woman left Baylor the day after informing her coach of the incident, but sources say her coach encouraged her in the months following to report the allegation.
The conclusion that McCaw didn’t attempt to cover up the alleged rape is at odds with information that regents provided earlier this month to the Dallas Morning News and with a statement released on Nov. 11 in which Baylor said McCaw, then head football coach Art Briles and the woman’s coach did not report the allegations to Judicial Affairs “or to anyone else outside of the Athletics Department.”
“In this case, the University can find no information that would support a conclusion that the student-athlete's head coach - or any other Athletics Department personnel - reported the incident to Judicial Affairs in 2013 or at any time since,” the school said in the Nov. 11 statement.
Baylor said that McCaw, Briles and the woman’s coach “each independently confirmed to the university…that they did not report this sexual assault allegation to Judicial Affairs in 2013.”
“(McCaw) explained that he did not take any action, including reporting the alleged sexual assault to Judicial Affairs, because he thought the victim did not want to report the incident,” the university said.
The same sources that confirmed that the woman’s coach contacted Judicial Affairs, however, say that the coach later informed both Briles and McCaw that he had called the office and that he was told nothing more could be done.
In 2015 the university hired the Pepper Hamilton law firm to investigate the school’s handling of sexual assault reports.
Sources with knowledge of the Pepper Hamilton presentation to Baylor regents say the firm’s lawyers discussed the alleged gang rape in great detail when the findings of the months-long investigation were presented to the board in May, but it’s not clear whether regents were told about the call to judicial affairs.
The woman’s coach said in an earlier statement that KWTX obtained that Briles urged him to tell the player to report the incident and hold players responsible if they were guilty of such a crime.
“I think Coach Briles handled the matter honorably and with the serious attention it deserved,” the coach said in the statement.
Sources with direct knowledge say the alleged rape figured prominently in the board’s decision on May 26 to fire Briles, reassign Chancellor and President Ken Starr and suspend McCaw, who later resigned.
In announcing the actions on May 26, regents said they “were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus,” but curiously one current regent, Jay Allison, released a statement Monday praising McCaw.
“Ian McCaw is a fine man with a record of success during his time here at Baylor. I am confident he will prove to be an outstanding athletic director for Liberty.”
On May 26, Baylor released a 13-page document summarizing Pepper Hamilton’s findings, but declined through the summer and early fall to release specifics.
Nowhere in the findings of fact from the Pepper Hamilton review are there details of a gang-rape, although the document does say that “Pepper found specific failings within both the football program and Athletics Department leadership to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players.”
Not until Nov. 2, when a selected group of regents met with the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board, were any specifics provided.
During that meeting, which was arranged at the suggestion of the board’s newly hired California-based PR firm, G. F. Bunting, Regent David Harper said regents knew of at least one instance when Briles was told of an allegation of gang rape and didn't report it to proper authorities.
"He was made aware of one of the allegations of a gang rape," Harper told the Morning News in an article published on Nov. 3.
"At least one of them. I can't tell you if he knew or didn't know about the others."
On Nov. 4, Baylor assistant football coaches and staff posted simultaneous tweets on Twitter, refuting the claim that the incident wasn’t reported.
Baylor responded on Nov. 11 when it issued the statement that said a previous voluntary statement and sworn affidavit by the woman’s coach did not mention that judicial affairs was contacted.
KWTX obtained both of those documents and confirmed judicial affairs is not mentioned.
However, sources told KWTX the woman’s coach said the information regarding judicial affairs was not included because no one asked about it.
Those sources say the coach not only maintains he contacted Judicial Affairs, but also that he told Pepper Hamilton investigators about the call.
The sources said that the law firm’s investigators recorded the interview in which he made the statement and that the coach recalled that the investigators said the report could have been made without the woman’s consent.
Pepper Hamilton investigators never talked to the alleged victim or players involved, the sources say, and Baylor has never contacted the woman’s coach to confirm details about the incident.
Baylor’s former Title IX Coordinator, Patty Crawford, says it’s unlikely McCaw, Briles or the woman’s coach would have known exactly how or to whom to report the incident the player did not want reported to police because they hadn’t been trained about how to handle such a situation.
“I had no records of any trainings for anyone that worked at Baylor regarding what, how or where to report allegations from before the fall of 2014,” she said in an emailed statement.
“When I arrived at Baylor (in the fall of 2014), I asked for all previous records from the title IX coordinators that proceeded me, I was only given the records from Juan Alejandro who was the interim coordinator before I was hired ( from July to November 2014). There were no training records from any title IX coordinator before me,’ she said.
“I would say that Baylor's ‘facts’ continue to be skewed to only protect the people at the top that never gave institutional support or prioritization to the important programming in order to at least attempt to comply prior to the creation of my former position,” Crawford said.
Crawford resigned from the school in early October.
The attorney for another employee fired in the wake of the Pepper Hamilton investigation, Associate Athletic Director Tom Hill, told KWTX the claims in the Nov. 11 release about his client are also inaccurate.
Baylor’s Nov. 11 statement says: “The head coach immediately reported the assault, including the names of the reported players, to the then-athletic director, to the head football coach and the sports administrator for the female student athlete’s team.”
Hill was the team’s administrator.
“That is a false/misleading/inaccurate statement,” said Hill’s attorney Rogge Dunn of Dallas, who also represented Crawford in her dispute with Baylor.
He told KWTX in an email that the woman’s coach “did not mention any names of the reported players to Tom Hill,” and attached an affidavit from the coach which supported his claim.
KWTX has also documented a second incident, which occurred in April 2013, and allegedly involved two players.
It was reported to Waco police, who interviewed the woman involved and collected evidence, but more than a year passed before anyone in the Athletic Department was made aware of it.
According to police reports obtained by KWTX, the woman, who a police investigator said was “highly intoxicated” and “very elusive in her answers,” was initially “adamant that nothing had happened and that she had not been sexually assaulted.”
Two days later she told an investigator “she did not wish to press charges against the two,” whom she identified as Shamycheal Chatman and Tre’Von Armstead.
The Waco police reports show that an investigating officer contacted Baylor about the incident shortly after it occurred, but KWTX has learned that Briles wasn’t told about the incident until Sept. 11, 2015, after Pepper Hamilton investigators discovered it.
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Reagan Ramsower, who oversees the Baylor Department of Public Safety, told “CBS 60 Minutes Sports” earlier this fall that the report about the incident was in the hands of campus police for more than a year.
By that time, Chatman was gone.
Armstead never worked out with the team or played again, but remained in school until he transferred at mid-term.
Neither player was ever charged.