Judge says federal lawsuit against Baylor University can proceed.

By SI Wire
March 07, 2017

A federal judge ruled that a lawsuit filed against Baylor University by 10 women saying they were sexually assaulted while they were students at the university can move forward.

The women, who are identified as ''Jane Doe'' plaintiffs in court records, accuse the university of ignoring claims of sexual assault and not enforcing federal discrimination laws.

Baylor wants the lawsuit thrown out, claiming the allegations were insufficient to state liability claims, but U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman rejected those arguments.

Pitman did throw out four of the women's lawsuits, saying the statute of limitations had run out for them to file lawsuits. Pitman also dismissed claims that the woman had made under state law for negligence and breach of contract.

''The Court finds that each Plaintiff in the instant case has plausibly alleged that Baylor was deliberately indifferent to her report(s) of sexual assault, depriving her of educational opportunities to which she was entitled,'' Pitman wrote in his order, obtained by the Associated Press.

Baylor already faces up to a half-dozen lawsuits from women who say the university did nothing for years, while sexual assault was rampant on campus. Baylor is also being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education for their response to sexual assaults.

An outside investigation conducted by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton concluded that there were “institutional failures at every level” at Baylor in addressing sexual violence on campus.

Head football coach Art Briles was fired, athletic director Ian McCaw was suspended and resigned, and other department employees were fired as a result of the Hamilton report.

The Big 12 Conference voted last month to withhold 25% of any future revenue distribution payments to Baylor, pending the conclusion of a third-party verification review which required the school to change its athletics procedures and to institute governance of Baylor's athletics program.

- Scooby Axson

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