February 01, 2017

WACO, Texas (AP) The former director of football operations at Baylor University has filed a lawsuit arguing he was unfairly named as contributing to the school's mishandling of student sexual assault complaints.

Colin Shillinglaw's lawsuit in district court in Dallas County names the school, interim President David Garland and others as defendants. In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Shillinglaw contends Baylor leaders and others were defamatory in unfairly blaming him when it was the university's public safety officials who were responsible for handling assault complaints.

Shillinglaw, who was fired last year, is seeking a jury trial and damages.

A Baylor spokesman said the lawsuit is without merit.

''We will defend the university aggressively,'' spokesman Jason Cook said. ''We look forward to presenting our defense in a court of law.''

Baylor has been broadly criticized for its response to assault complaints, including a series of claims against former football players.

Several lawsuits have been filed arising from the sexual assault scandal. One filed last week in federal court by a former Baylor student alleges she was raped by two football players and that there were dozens more assaults of women involving other players.

Shillinglaw argues in his lawsuit that university regents have conducted interviews with various media that unfairly placed blame on the football program.

''All of these articles, which were published or referenced in various other news outlets across the country, continue to methodically create the narrative that the Baylor football program was out of control - a narrative that clearly defamed Mr. Shillinglaw or anyone else associated with the Baylor football staff and administration,'' the lawsuit contends.

An investigation last year by the law firm Pepper Hamilton found that the school mishandled assault claims for years. Football coach Art Briles was fired, school President Ken Starr was demoted and eventually left, and Ian McCaw resigned as athletic director.

Pepper Hamilton is named as a defendant in Shillinglaw's lawsuit.

On Wednesday, Briles dropped the defamation lawsuit filed against four university officials he accused of making false statements against him, according to attorneys in the case. Briles in December sued the three regents and a university vice president for libel and slander, claiming they falsely stated that he knew of reported assaults and alleged gang rapes by players and didn't report them.

Briles' attorney, Ernest Cannon, told KWTX-TV of Waco that the lawsuit was never about money. He said Briles wanted some peace in his life and to put as much distance as possible between his family and Baylor.

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