Sports

New Baylor Lawsuit Alleges 52 Rapes by 31 Football Players

It appears the Pepper Hamilton report missed the mark by a wide margin.
January 27, 2017, 11:38pm
© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last October, Baylor University regents told the Wall Street Journal that they were aware of 17 women who reported sexual assaults by 19 different Baylor football players. Those were the results of the investigation that the law firm Pepper Hamilton launched into the school's wide-ranging sexual assault scandal and coverup; the revelations eventually cost University president Ken Starr and head football coach Art Briles their jobs. A lawsuit filed today alleges that the report missed the mark by a wide margin. A 2014 Baylor graduate sued the school for Title IX violations and negligence, alleging that she was gang raped, punched, and bitten.

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The suit further alleges that lawyers investigating the claim discovered that there were actually 52 rapes committed by 31 football players from 2011-2014, the same time period covered by the Pepper Hamilton investigation. Five of those rapes were gang rapes, and at least two of those rapes were committed by 10 players or more.

The plaintiff, named as Elizabeth Doe, alleges that she was raped by two football players after a 2013 party hosted by Shawn Oakman, a former football player also charged with sexual assault in a separate incident. Doe was drunk, and went home with Tre'Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman and when her roommate's boyfriend came back later that night, he heard "what sounded like wrestling and a fist hitting someone," and a woman saying "no."

When the boyfriend asked if everything was OK, one of the men inside yelled that Doe "was fine." Armstead and Chatman then emerged from the room, and the boyfriend saw Doe partially unclothed on the floor. The woman had a bruise on her cheek and a bite mark on her neck, according to the suit.

Before police arrived, a fellow Baylor Bruin came over—apparently already aware of what happened—and instructed Doe to tell police she had "consensual sex with one white male" to protect the athletes, the suit alleges. It cites a Title IX investigation into the incident, which later showed that Chatman had called the Bruin and given her the "assignment."

The suit reinforces the widely accepted narrative that there was a culture of rape at the school and within the football program, specifically. Chatman, the suit alleges, was previously accused of rape by a former athletic trainer and Baylor responded by moving the trainer to a female sports team and paid her tuition in exchange for her silence.

The school is also accused of using sex to sell recruits on coming to the team. In one anecdote, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, son of Art and a recent Lane Kiffin hire at Florida Atlantic University, was reported to have told a potential recruit "Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players."

[Dallas Morning News]