A former member of Baylor University’s Equestrian team is suing the school for an undisclosed amount of money for the way it handled her reporting of rape in November 2017.
According to Baylor University Police and the lawsuit, the initial report came from the University Place Apartments.
In the lawsuit, the woman going by the name “Jane Doe” says two football players sexually assaulted her, while a third football player and a fellow member of the equestrian team sexually exploited her. She says she was intoxicated and incapacitated, but still able to tell her assailants no.
Jane Doe accuses the university of deliberate indifference and retaliation in the lawsuit. She also says there was a strategic delay in the Title IX process and investigators used abusive interrogation tactics.
At one point, Doe says Title IX investigator Michael Noble interviewed her in “a shaming, embarrassing, and hostile madder. He probed for graphic details of her assaults, including asking about the size of one man’s penis and asking her to describe in minute detail where she had been touched and how it felt.“
Doe accuses Noble in the lawsuit of asking her what she was wearing that night.
According to Noble’s profile on the Title IX website, he served as a police officer in Indiana and as a police mentor in Afghanistan, by advising and training the Afghan National Police.
The president of “It’s On Us” at Baylor University, Paige Hardy, says the Title IX office in 2017 was different than it is now.
“I have gone in with probably nine different survivors to get accommodations and get information about investigations, and each time it has improved. They are constantly improving their practices and their policies to make sure they fit Baylor’s needs,” Hardy explains.
Hardy recommends if you have been assaulted to go to the Title IX office.
“Even it’s just to get information, they can connect to other resources such as Baylor PD and Waco PD or the Waco Advocacy Center. So if someone choses to not do a investigation, but to get academic accommodations or mental health accommodations, the Title IX office is a really great resource,” Hardy says.
The lawsuit states Baylor allowed the football players to receive tutoring and meals at the same time she did, even when she asked Baylor to not allow them to.
“Until a respondent is found guilty that respondent still has an equal right to education as much as the compliant does,” Hardy explains. “They aren’t allowed to kick someone out until an investigation is complete.”
Baylor says there is nothing more important than providing a safe and caring community for students.
“Sexual assault won’t end and poor policy practices won’t end until we all stand up together and do a small part to end sexual assault,” Hardy says.
Jane Doe also accuses Baylor of disclosing her name and role with the equestrian team to the media, violating her privacy.
While FOX44 News has reported on the allegations brought by Jane Doe, we have not revealed her name at any time.
During the investigation, Doe says the university told her that the football players were ordered not to contact her, but that they did anyway without penalty.
She left the university in the summer of 2018 because the investigation had not been concluded. The lawsuit says that didn’t happen until October. It claims the university expelled one person for assaulting Doe, banned another from all school activities for sexually exploiting her, and refused to discipline a third, claiming he did not violate Baylor’s sexual misconduct policies.
The investigation into the fourth person ended when she withdrew from Baylor. It started again in January 2019 when she attempted to re-enroll. At that time, the investigators found her responsible for sexual exploitation and retaliation against Doe. She was barred from campus.
You can read the full lawsuit here:
FOX44 News reached out to Baylor University for comment about the lawsuit. They released this statement:
Nothing is more important at Baylor University than providing a safe and caring community for our students. The University is committed to following appropriate Title IX policies and guidelines. This includes providing robust training and education to both incoming and current students in an effort to prevent sexual assault – training that each of the students involved in this alleged incident received when they came to Baylor. The University works tirelessly not only to respond to allegations of assault, but to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place.
Baylor is also committed to providing a caring environment for survivors while working to determine the facts in each case to ensure a fair and equitable process for all involved parties. This is a complex case – Baylor’s investigation involved three complainants, four respondents, and multiple allegations by each of the three complainants against each of the respondents. More than 30 individuals were interviewed as part of the University’s investigation process. Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, Baylor’s Title IX policies and procedures were followed in how the incident was reported, investigated and ultimately adjudicated – from the initial report to the final adjudication,
Importantly, the same day that Athletics officials learned about the incident, they reported the matter to Baylor’s Title IX Office and subsequently suspended the respondents from all team activities within 36 hours of the incident report. Additionally, interim measures were coordinated by the Title IX Office during the pendency of the investigation to limit contact among the involved parties as reasonably as possible.
Following an extensive investigation by the Title IX Office, all of the respondents were found responsible for one or more of the allegations against them, and none are enrolled at Baylor any longer.
A McLennan County grand jury has reviewed the case as to at least two of the respondents and determined that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed at trial.
Baylor University also addressed a few of the complaints. The lawsuit states the Title IX Coordinator, a Title IX Investigator, and Administrative Assistant positions sat vacant. The University says that is true, but there were other staff members available to assist students.