Suit that alleged former BU volleyball player was gang-raped settled

(Baylor University photo/file)
(Baylor University photo/file)(KWTX)
Published: Jul. 13, 2018 at 3:36 PM CDT
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A Title IX lawsuit in which a former Baylor volleyball player alleged she was gang-raped by at least four and possibly as many as eight football players on Feb. 11, 2012 has been settled.

A joint notice of settlement was filed Friday that says the parties are finalizing an agreement and will need 90 days to complete the process.

“Baylor University understands that survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence seek resolution in many ways. In reaching a legal settlement, we acknowledge the challenges this survivor has endured and realize it’s a small step in the healing process,” the university said in a statement Friday.

“Under new leadership, Baylor has taken significant actions in response to past reports of sexual violence within our campus community and implemented 105 improvements to our Title IX policy, processes and procedures. We remain steadfast in our commitment to properly respond to incidents of sexual assault, interpersonal violence and harassment.”

Terms of the settlement won’t be disclosed.

Houston lawyer Mo Aziz filed the lawsuit on May 16 2017 in U.S. District Court.

The incident, which the volleyball player did not report to her coach until 2013, was pivotal in the investigation that led to the firing of head football coach Art Briles, the reassignment of Chancellor and President Ken Starr and the suspension of athletic director Ian McCaw in May 2016.

Starr later resigned and McCaw is now athletic director at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

In November 2016 Baylor released information claiming Briles was informed of the incident by the volleyball player’s head coach, as was McCaw, but that no one reported it to the school’s office of Judicial Affairs as required by university policy.

Baylor did not have a Title IX Office at the time, but the volleyball coach, Jim Barnes, who’s also no longer at Baylor, maintained he did call Judicial Affairs after he was made aware of the incident, and in a sworn statement obtained by KWTX, Barnes said he thought Briles “handled the matter honorably and with the serious attention it deserved.”

In a statement issued the day after the suit was filed in May 2017, McCaw, through attorney Thomas P. Brandt, said he was “faced with a situation in which he desired to honor the wishes of the alleged victim, who, according to her head coach, was unwilling to speak to police.”

“Mr. McCaw directed the victim’s coach to Baylor’s Office of Judicial Affairs, which handles student conduct matters. Mr. McCaw believed that the Office of Judicial Affairs was the appropriate place to take such an allegation,” Brandt’s statement said.

Briles’ attorney, Mark Lanier, also issued a statement on May 17, 2017, in response to the suit in which he said, “We have read the allegations in the plaintiff’s case and are stunned.”

“Core allegations in this suit are contrary to known written evidence, letters, and events,” he said.

“Furthermore, the suit fails to point out that Coach Briles’s response when he heard the allegations was clear. He said if any criminal activity occurred, it should immediately be reported to the police.”

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