McCaw deposition blasts Baylor regents, campus police
Former Baylor University athletic director Ian McCaw, in a deposition made public Friday, laid the responsibility for the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the school’s football program at the feet of Baylor regents and the campus police department, but the university dismissed the assertions as “baseless.”
Waco attorney Jim Dunnam filed the deposition attachment Friday as part of a massive lawsuit against the university, filed by 10 Jane Doe plaintiffs who say Baylor was insensitive to their claims of sexual assaults on campus.
In the almost 400-transcript of the June 19 deposition, McCaw names Baylor regents, administrators and others and says the sexual assault scandal that brewed in the athletics department was manufactured by investigators and regents to cover up a larger campus-wide issue.
“The regents were looking for, looking to scapegoat, and the football program, to cover up the campus-wide failings,” McCaw said in the deposition.
Baylor disputed the claim in a statement issued Friday.
“Despite the numerous, factually baseless assertions in Mr. McCaw’s deposition, one fact remains – several incidents of sexual and interpersonal violence involving student-athletes were reported during his tenure as athletics director. It was the Baylor Board of Regents that stepped up and took action, launching an independent investigation – by the nation’s top sexual assault legal experts – of not only the football program but of the entire campus in terms of how reports of sexual violence were handled over a specific period. The results of this investigation were outlined in a Findings of Fact document that led to sweeping leadership changes and a slate of 105 campus-wide recommendations for improvement, which have since been completed.”
Part of the failings, according to McCaw, was an inability of the campus police department to respond to, or investigate, reports of sexual assaults.
At one point in his deposition McCaw said the police chief reprimanded officers who completed sexual assault reports because making those reports public would bring discredit on the school.
He went on to say the issue runs much deeper.
“Obviously if anyone were to unearth all the things that were happening in the police department it would be devastating to the university.”
McCaw said the issue was dumped onto the athletic department to shield the university, as a whole, from scrutiny, a plan, McCaw says, hatched by regents and the Pepper Hamilton Law Firm, which reviewed the school’s handling of sexual assault complaints involving athletes.
“They (Pepper Hamilton) were focused on the football program only,” McCaw said, while “The vast majority of sexual assaults were outside the football program.”
“(Pepper Hamilton) worked for the regents and were directed by the regents to create an outcome that was desired by the regent leadership,” McCaw said in deposition.
“I was told that the cases they presented to the board were six cases, all of them involved black football players,” McCaw testified.
The university says the claims aren’t substantiated.
“As specifically described in our prior legal responses, Mr. McCaw’s unsubstantiated claims of a conspiracy by regents, racism and scapegoating at Baylor are bizarre, blatantly false and nothing more than speculation and gossip of which he has no firsthand knowledge. The release of the full deposition proves this point. Mr. McCaw’s assertions are a blatant attempt to redirect responsibility and simply do not reflect reality and the significant measures taken by the Board to address the concerns that had been raised regarding sexual violence. Mr. McCaw’s unsubstantiated assertions certainly do not reflect the vibrant, welcoming and diverse community found on our campus.”
McCaw said Pepper Hamilton never prepared a written report of its findings, and never was asked to, because; “I think if they actually prepared a full written report and published it, it would have devastating consequences for the university.”
McCaw testified about a 2013 incident that went uninvestigated: “A sexual assault call came into the BPD.
A dispatcher took the call,” McCaw said.
“The dispatcher was listening to the reported allegation of sexual assault, and this was on a recorded line, and then put the caller on hold and proceeded to order his dinner.
“And after he completed the meal order, he returned to the call, listened to the remainder of the report, made a notation in the log, but took no action.
In the deposition McCaw says former Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak was forced into retirement after administrators charged he mishandled sexual assault complaints.
McCaw also said in the document that Regent Chairman Richard Willis told him to work around the university’s Title IX protocols in a case involving an accused athlete.
On May 26, 2016 regents released a 13-page findings of fact statement and a list of 105 recommendations from the law firm, and announced the firing of head football coach Art Briles, the reassignment of Chancellor and President Ken Starr, and the suspension of athletic director Ian McCaw.
Four days later, on May 30, McCaw resigned saying he needed to step down in order to help the university heal and move forward.
McCaw is now the athletic director at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Va.
McCaw has said he resigned because he wanted to step away from “some Enron cover-up scheme,” though documents referenced in the deposition indicate that regents held a 26-4 vote recommending that he resign.
The university says it “remains confident in the personnel changes made following the Pepper Hamilton investigation.”
“It is important to note that nowhere in the Plaintiffs’ 46-page complaint are allegations or claims made about the Pepper Hamilton investigation or the departures of Mr. McCaw and Art Briles, which occurred after the plaintiffs’ alleged sexual assaults,“ the university said.
“And most recently, during McCaw’s day-long deposition, not a single question was asked of McCaw about the Plaintiffs’ alleged assaults or Baylor’s handling of their reports. This case is not about past personnel decisions, nor does it involve any athletics department officials.
“It also is important to note that in December 2016, the Baylor Board of Regents unanimously reaffirmed its full confidence concerning the thoroughness and fairness of the Pepper Hamilton investigation, following a report by a special committee that reviewed the methodology, scope of work and findings of the investigation,” the school said.
On Thursday U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman entered an order in the case that directs Baylor University to: “file the student records associated with its most recent motion, and to “resubmit the student records contained in the sealed, ex parte exhibits.”
Finally Pitman ordered: “that Baylor provide the Court paper copies of both sets of records described above … on or before July 31, 2018.”