WACO, Texas — A former Baylor University student who says she was raped by two football players filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the school that alleges there were dozens more assaults of women involving other players.
The lawsuit by the student, who is listed in the documents only as “Elizabeth Doe,” alleges at least 52 rapes by more than 30 football players over a four-year period.
It also alleges a “culture of sexual violence” and describes her 2013 attack by two players. It doesn’t detail the other alleged attacks, but says some were recorded by the players, who shared them with friends.
Fifty-two assaults would dramatically increase the 17 reports of sexual and physical attacks involving 19 players since 2011 previously acknowledged by Baylor officials.
The school faces at least five lawsuits from women who allege they were attacked and that the school failed to protect them or ignored their complaints.
The nation’s largest Baptist university has been gripped by the on-going scandal that led to the firing of football coach Art Briles and the departure of school President Ken Starr in 2016.
An internal investigation last year found that the football program operated as if it was “above the rules” and that assistant coaches and staff interfered or stifled investigations into alleged assaults by players.
Baylor allowed Briles’ staff of assistants to remain for the 2016 season but new coach Matt Rhule hasn’t retained them. Some have moved to new jobs, including Briles’ son and former offensive coordinator, Kendal Briles, to Florida Atlantic, and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett to Arizona State.
In a statement, Baylor President David E. Garland said the university had made “great progress” in fortifying security measures since the sexual assault scandal erupted last year.
“Baylor University has taken unprecedented actions that have been well-documented in response to the issue of past and alleged sexual assaults involving our campus community,” Garland said. “We have made great progress in implementing 105 recommendations to strengthen the safety and security of all students and restore faith in the university.”
The statement did not specifically address the allegations in the new lawsuit.
In the lawsuit filed Friday, the woman alleges being raped by two players in 2013. The attack was reported to Waco police but no charges were filed and the players were allowed to stay on the team at the time.
According to the lawsuit, campus officials didn’t investigate her case until 2015. One of the players involved was suspended from the team and later expelled. The other had transferred.
The lawsuit alleges the football program operated under a “show’em a good time” policy that “used sex to sell” Baylor to high school recruits.
The woman was a member of a campus group called the Baylor Bruins that would host prospective athletes during visits. The lawsuit alleges Baylor encouraged making Baylor Bruins available for sex with recruits, as well as taking recruits to strip clubs, implied promises of sex and using alcohol and drugs in the recruiting process.
Art Briles’ attorney Ernest Cannon denied the program culture described in the lawsuit.
“If they were doing that it would be terrible, but they weren’t doing that. Art wasn’t involved in anything like that,” Cannon said. “Lawyers have great imaginations when money is involved. It’s really sad.”