Police documents obtained by ESPN's Outside The Lines have revealed new allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence against football players at Baylor University, which is already under scrutiny for how it handles incidents of sexual violence.
The documents, uncovered by ESPN's Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach, show that Baylor officials and coaches were often aware of allegations but didn't discipline players. The report also details how Waco, Texas, police sometimes prevented the public from learning about criminal investigations involving football players.
The revelations are just the latest allegations of misconduct levied against Baylor's football program. The school has come under scrutiny for its handling of criminal cases involving football players, particularly those regarding alleged sexual assault. In January, Outside The Lines reported that Baylor did not provide support to alleged victims of sexual assault, an apparent violation of Title IX. The school failed to hire a full-time Title IX coordinator until 2014, more than three years after a federal directive.
ESPN has also previously reported that Baylor failed to investigate sexual assault claims made against football players for more than two years, an apparent violation of federal law.
The newest set of documents reveals new allegations of sexual violence as well as how administrators failed to take action against players accused of sexual assault or physical violence. The documents also show how police kept some cases from the public.
For example, after three Baylor football players were charged following a 2011 assault, Waco police kept the case hidden from public view because of its potentially “high–profile” nature, according to ESPN. A police report obtained by ESPN detailed how an investigating officer asked a police commander to remove the case from the department's computer system to limit access to the file. This wasn't the only time Waco police kept accusations against football players out of public view.
Waco police spokesman Patrick Swanton told SI.com that it was not necessarily unusual for the department to “remove the narrative” from a case file when an investigator deems it necessary. Swanton said the department might take such a step in an officer–involved shooting, for instance.
“We can pull narratives of cases to protect the integrity and ensure the fair and impartial investigation of a case,” Swanton told SI.com.
The documents obtained by ESPN also indicate that Baylor administrators and coaches failed to take action on accusations of assault. One alleged victim told ESPN that she informed football team chaplain Wes Yeary that her then-boyfriend, a Baylor player, had physically assaulted her twice. She also told ESPN that Baylor coach Art Briles and university president Ken Starr were notified of the accusations but that the player was not suspended or disciplined by either the team or the university.
The woman had decided not to press criminal charges against her now ex-boyfriend, though she did tell Waco police about the assaults.
“I'd seen other girls go through it, and nothing ever happened to the football players,” she told ESPN. “It's mind-boggling to see it continue to happen. I can't understand why. I think as long as they're catching footballs and scoring touchdowns, the school won't do anything.”
Last month, former star defensive end Shawn Oakman was arrested for a sexual assault charge, making him the third Baylor player in the last four years to be arrested for rape.
Former Baylor players Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu were both convicted of rape in separate trials in January 2014 and last August, respectively.
Last year, Texas Monthly detailed how Boise State—where Ukwuachu began his college career—warned Baylor, where the defensive end transferred, that he might not be ready to return to the field after he was kicked off Boise State's team due to a violent incident. Ukwuachu proceeded to sexually assault a Baylor student in 2013, his first year on campus. Ukwuachu was cleared by a school investigation of any wrongdoing before his conviction in court.
Baylor is currently the subject of a Title IX lawsuit regarding the Elliott case, with his victim accusing the school of being indifferent to her sexual assault claims.