Judge orders Baylor to provide sexual violence, harassment reports dating to 2003

By Denise Royal | Aug 21, 2017

WACO – Baylor University has been ordered to "produce original documents related to sexual violence against and sexual harassment of third-party students” dating back to 2003 by the Waco Division of the U.S District Court for the Western District of Texas on July 28.

The documents are from the school's highly publicized Pepper Hamilton investigation, "which found that Baylor repeatedly mishandled sexual assault allegations made against football players and other students," according to the Texas Tribune

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman is part of a Title IX lawsuit against the school filed by 10 alleged sexual assault victims and former students. 

Baylor officials wanted to provide the court with a summary of cases and cited privacy concerns for students not part of the lawsuit. Pitman rejected those motions. 

"The court finds that allowing Baylor to prepare a spreadsheet summarizing third-party reports of sexual assault would almost completely undercut the documents' value to plaintiffs," the federal court said in its order.

Baylor had previously moved to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims in March.

Pitman's ruling also ordered Baylor to release the details of its settlement with its former President Ken Starr. The Starr settlement is not to be made public. 

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported Starr was fired last year following that Pepper Hamilton investigation. Starr famously served as independent counsel in the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations during the Clinton administration.

The plaintiffs are former female students who claim Baylor mishandled claims of sexual assault for years. They are in a legal battle with Baylor disclosure of details from the Pepper Hamilton probe. 

Pitman also ordered Baylor to release an unedited email in which former Board of Regents Chairman Buddy Jones indicated he wanted a certain student expelled “arguably under the pretext of an underage drinking violation,” the order states. Baylor had initially argued that the email was not relevant to the plaintiff's claims.

"After reviewing a redacted version of the email, the court concludes that the email should be produced. While the court is sympathetic to Baylor’s argument regarding relevance—the email reflects a discussion between Jones and another Baylor employee about underage drinking—it concludes that the document may be relevant to plaintiffs’ claims," the court ruled.

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Baylor University U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Waco Division

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