Two more women who allege their lives were turned upside down after they were sexually assaulted as Baylor University students were added Friday to a Title IX lawsuit against the school.
Identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, which initially was filed in June in Waco’s U.S. District Court, the women became the ninth and 10th plaintiffs to be included.
Baylor spokeswoman Tonya Lewis said Baylor typically does not comment on pending litigation.
Like the other plaintiffs, Jane Doe 9 and Jane Doe 10 allege Baylor officials failed to properly handle their sexual assault allegations.
“These new young women again point out the inexcusable conduct by Baylor continues despite all their claims otherwise,” said Eleeza Johnson, one of several attorneys representing the women.
Jane Doe 9 says in the lawsuit that she was awarded multiple scholarships to attend Baylor and enrolled in January 2014. She alleges she was sexually assaulted by “Assailant 10,” as he is identified in the petition, in November 2014, the same month Baylor hired Patty Crawford as the school’s first full-time Title IX coordinator.
She reported the assault to the Office of Judicial Affairs, the suit alleges.
“Judicial Affairs was not interested or concerned with the assault but did take interest in the fact that students were drinking at the time and place of the assault,” the suit claims. “Judicial Affairs failed to refer Jane Doe 9 to the Title IX office, failed to refer her to the counseling center, failed to offer recommendations, failed to take a written report, and to the best of Jane Doe 9’s recollection, failed to even write down her name. Jane Doe 9 left the Judicial Affairs Office with only a lecture on drinking.”
The suit also alleges that the “stress and trauma” of the assault caused her to develop shingles so severely that it left her with permanent scarring. Her mental state caused her grades to fall and she failed her classes that semester, lost her scholarships and was placed on academic suspension.
She was required to retake failed courses, setting her back on graduation plans and adding thousands of dollars to her student debt, according to the suit.
She suffered a “breakdown” over the Christmas break and now is taking daily medication for her mental health.
The suit alleges she sought help at Baylor’s Counseling Center but was turned away. She alleges she was told her problems were “too complex” and that she needed to seek help away from campus.
“To date, Jane Doe 9 is crippled by panic attacks when she sees her assailant on campus,” the suit alleges.
Before the Fall 2016 semester, Jane Doe 9 met with the Office of Learning Accommodations. Officials there suggested she report her claim to the Title IX office, where a criminal investigation was initiated.
“The Title IX office has not provided assistance to Jane Doe 9, other than performing an intake interview, and has informed her that they cannot proceed with an investigation because there is an ongoing criminal investigation,” the woman claims in the suit. “. . . The lack of knowledgeable staff and defendant university’s actions and inactions substantially impaired Jane Doe 9’s higher education experience.”
Jane Doe 10 enrolled at Baylor in August 2013 as a biochemistry major with plans to go to medical school, according to the suit. She said she became friends with “Assailant 11” as a freshman, and he sexually assaulted her in February 2016.
The suit says she immediately reported the assault to a friend and to the Waco Police Department. Baylor police and the Title IX office also were informed.
“While the Title IX office did conduct an investigation, it did so in a way that substantially prejudiced Jane Doe 10 and in a manner that suggests the investigation was in name only with the outcome predetermined,” the suit alleges.
The Title IX office failed to support Jane Doe 10 and took actions that discouraged her continued participation in the process, the woman claims.
Crawford resigned as Title IX coordinator earlier this month, saying she never had the “authority, resources or independence” to do her job. She also claims Baylor is still violating Title IX polices and procedures.
Baylor faces four Title IX lawsuits amid an ongoing scandal over its handling of sexual assault. Baylor’s board of regents reported on May 26 there had been a “fundamental failure” in the school’s implementation of Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act.
Baylor also is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education based on Crawford’s accusations. Baylor has settled with at least one sexual assault victim, reaching an undisclosed agreement last year with a former student-athlete raped by Sam Ukwuachu, a former football player convicted last year in a 2013 incident.
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