Second former Title IX officer files complaint against BU
A second former Baylor Title IX employee has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights against the University, saying Baylor officials discriminated against her and attempted to intimidate her while she tried to investigate sexual assault cases.
The complaint filed by Gabrielle Lyons essentially mirrors the complaints made by former Baylor Title IX Administrator Patty Crawford, under whom Lyons worked. Crawford filed a similar complaint alleging discrimination and intimidation before resigning her position in October.
According to Lyons’ attorney Rogge Dunn, Baylor administrators including COO Reagan Ramsower ignored complaints that Baylor’s Title IX office was understaffed, and that the numerous allegations of rape the office was handling was causing emotional stress for employees.
"I was having nightmares about rape, so was the rest of my team," said Lyons.
Lyons also suggested that victims of alleged assaults needed additional counseling, but that “Ramsower did not seem to care about that”.
"He was dismissive of that, 'it was not our problem anymore,'" said Lyons of Ramsower.
Dunn says Lyons’ complaint is “totally consistent” with Patty Crawford’s claims that the Title IX office was set up to fail, was not supported by the University, and that Crawford was retaliated against for trying to comply with Title IX. Dunn represents both Lyons and Crawford.
Baylor, in a response sent to KWTX, said Lyons and the Title IX officer were supported. "Resources were made available as requested by the Title IX Coordinator", the statement reads. "Support for the Title IX office through budget increases, staff increases, space allocations, morale-boosting endeavors and access to resources across campus has been well documented."
Baylor also responded that Lyons never raised these complaints with Baylor while she was employed, or at the time of her departure.
Dunn also calls Baylor’s assertion on their “the Facts” website that 3 Title IX employees quit because of Crawford’s inadequate administrative ability an “all out lie”.
Lyons, he says, was one of those employees. “Lyons will say that she did not quit because of Patty, she believes Patty did a good job”, according to Dunn. “Lyons quit because Baylor was not doing a good job of enforcing TIX and because her job was so stressful that she had nightmares and anxiety having to listen to the horrible events that occurred.”
In an interview with KWTX Thursday, Lyons said she felt she was forced to quit because of Baylor's non-compliance with Title IX, historically and when she was there.
"A case, two cases, maybe something will slip through the cracks, but it was becoming more apparent that this was systemic, and this was something that I didn't want to be a part of," said Lyons. "They were very well aware of how I felt on the issue, and the fact that they would use me against Patty...it's just hurtful."
Dunn says another administrator did not quit, but was fired by Baylor.
Patty Crawford resigned her position in early October, 2016, and then spoke about her problems with Baylor University in national media appearances. She said Baylor “set her up to fail” and that Ramsower retaliated against her as she tried to push for independence to do her job appropriately.
Lyons also made allegations against both the Baylor and Waco Police Departments, saying they "turned a blind eye" to sexual assault cases involving football players. She said although they were cordial during her time at Baylor, both departments did make it difficult for her to do her job, and she received push-back when asking for police reports or wanting to interview any alleged perpetrators.
Lyons said Baylor's athletic department had also put up road blocks; she said she was told she had go through a single athletic administrator in order to interview players involved in sexual assault cases, but the administrator would give her the run around, and he'd even provided incorrect phone numbers for players, she believed intentionally.
That athletic administrator has since been fired, Lyons said.
Additional statements from Baylor responding to interviews with Ms. Lyons:
Ms. Lyons claims that Baylor University law enforcement officials tried to intimidate her by discouraging her from interviewing alleged perpetrators alone. In fact, these officials partner daily with Title IX staff to provide information and support.
Based on feedback they had received from the Title IX office, the officials offered to accompany Ms. Lyons any time she felt a situation might escalate and become difficult for her. They offered the same support to other Title IX staff members – and it is a service the law enforcement officials also provide to other departments across campus. Far from intending to intimidate Ms. Lyons, the law enforcement officials were trying to do everything they could to help her be successful in her work.
During her employment at the University and at the time of her departure in late 2015, Ms. Lyons never raised with Baylor the complaints that she is now making.
Access to Waco Police records is managed by Waco Police Department guidelines. While we understand the frustrations Ms. Lyons might have had regarding access to these records, Baylor Police must honor Waco PD guidelines. Baylor Police officers regularly provide thorough summaries of information included in pertinent records as a service to the Title IX office.
While Ms. Lyons claims a lack of support for the Title IX office, resources were made available as requested by the Title IX Coordinator. Support for the Title IX office through budget increases, staff increases, space allocations, morale-boosting endeavors and access to resources across campus has been well documented.
It is vital to remember that, in the period since Ms. Lyons left the University, Baylor has taken major steps to address the full implementation of Title IX. This includes working to adopt and operationalize.