College Football

Baylor Hit With Second Lawsuit By Title IX Investigator

At this point, there's just no way anyone can believe Baylor's side of the story

College Football
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Jan 19, 2017 at 5:03 PM ET

According to a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines, another former member of Baylor University’s Title IX office is alleging that the University impeded her ability to investigate claims of sexual assault on campus, particularly those involving members of the football team.

Gabrielle Lyons, who served as the school’s Title IX investigator from April 2015 through November of that year, has filed a complaint with both the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charging the university with discrimination and intimidation.

Her resignation came following a five month-tenure in which Baylor underfunded her office, failed to provide the necessary staffers, hampered her ability to deal with Waco law enforcement officials, and resorted to stalling tactics and intimidation, according to Lyons. She also claims that the sheer number of sexual assault claims she was charged with investigating proved so stressful, violent, and shocking, she and others asked Baylor to provide mental health services.

Lyons said the final straw for her came after an Oct. 5, 2015, meeting with [Baylor CFO Reagan] Ramsower, [former Title IX coordinator Patty] Crawford and another Title IX investigator, Ian McRary, who resigned in December. Lyons said she told Ramsower that “we are suffering,” and the staff needed more support as “it’s keeping me up at night. I felt that if I had the support, I could do it.”

Lyons described Ramsower’s response as “cold” and dismissive.

“At night, I was having nightmares about rape and then I was getting a little paranoid,” Lyons said. “And then the police were saying, ‘You’re not safe to do your job. Look over your shoulder when you go to the parking lot.'”

The complaint with the OCR was filed in April 2016 in conjunction with End Rape on Campus, a sexual assault prevention and victim advocacy nonprofit organization, in the hopes that Lyons could retain her anonymity and avoid any acts of retribution. One month later, Baylor released a 13-page summary of an investigation conducted by the law firm, Pepper Hamilton, which detailed the University’s indifference or outright incompetence on the part of administrators and coaches when it came to following Title IX guidelines, an attempt to discredit or bury the claims of accusers, and a football-crazed culture that made all this possible. According to the Wall Street Journal, between 2011 and 2015, 17 women accused 19 members of the football team of sexual assault, including multiple allegations of gang rapes.

The direct consequence of the Pepper Hamilton report was the resignation of head coach Art Briles, president Ken Starr, and athletic director Ian McCaw. McCaw has since managed to land a plum gig and Briles has sought out cushy interviews in an attempt to rehabilitate his image while his libel suit against Baylor continues apace.

Lyons’ allegations mirror those of her former supervisor, Patty Crawford, Baylor’s ex-Title IX coordinator who similarly filed a complaint with the OCR and has claimed that as opposed to actually complying with Title IX regulations, her office was set up to fail. Crawford rejected a proposed settlement offer of $1.5 million dollars from Baylor, a condition of which would have prevented her from speaking out against the University.

In a statement, Baylor denied Lyons’ claims, adding said that she “never raised with Baylor the complaints that she is now making” while she was still employed by the University. Yeah, sure, we totally believe you.