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ESPN: Baylor did not investigate sex assault report against 2 football players for 1 1/2 years

ESPN: Baylor did not investigate sex assault report against 2 football players for 1 1/2 years

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Baylor University waited at least a year and a half to investigate sexual assault allegations against two former football players who were named by Waco police in an April 2013 incident report regarding the alleged assault, according to an ESPN “Outside the Lines” report.

The report alleges Baylor did not begin investigating the case until September 2015, referencing a Title IX report obtained by ESPN.

Former All-Big 12 tight end Tre’Von Armstead and former practice squad player Myke Chatman were named in the report about the alleged incident on the night of April 18, 2013, at an off-campus apartment.

Armstead was dismissed from the team for an “unspecified team rules violation” Sept. 18, 2015. He played in the 2015 season opener against SMU on Sept. 4 and was held out of the second game against Lamar on Sept. 12 for an unspecified reason.

Armstead was expelled from Baylor in February, and his appeal of his expulsion was denied, according to the ESPN report. Chatman transferred from Baylor and has played the past two seasons at Sam Houston State University.

Baylor President Ken Starr said he would not comment.

“No, I can’t comment on individual cases,” Starr said. “We are constrained in what we can say.”

Starr said people should “stay tuned” regarding the investigation by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, which Baylor hired to investigate the school’s handling of sexual assault allegations after the August 2015 sexual assault conviction of former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu.

“I couldn’t predict when, but we expect it to be soon,” Starr said of the law firm’s investigation results.

Phone messages left for Pepper Hamilton spokesman Dan Pulka were not returned this week. Baylor spokeswoman Tonya Lewis said in an email that the Pepper Hamilton review “will provide a comprehensive and candid assessment of our processes for responding to acts of interpersonal violence and help us identify opportunities for action and improvement.”

Lewis said “ESPN did not make clear in their reporting how they obtained the documents,” referring to the Title IX documents.

“Due to the deeply personal and sensitive nature of individual cases and privacy guidelines provided by federal law, we do not publicly address specific cases, even when a survivor chooses to speak publicly,” Lewis said.

An open records request for the police report, which ESPN posted along with its “Outside the Lines” story, was not returned Wednesday.

According to the report, the alleged victim was at a party with Armstead and Chatman at the apartment of Shawn Oakman, a former Baylor football player arrested by Waco police Wednesday on a separate sexual assault charge.

Armstead, Chatman and the alleged victim left the party, and Chatman later told Baylor officials that the alleged victim performed oral sex on him while Armstead had sex with her.

In the Title IX report obtained by ESPN, Armstead said he was never intoxicated and never touched the alleged victim.

Police called

A roommate and her boyfriend called Waco police after hearing “a large bang and ‘fists hitting noises’ and the alleged victim saying, ‘No, no, please stop.’ ” They also said they heard her say, “No, I don’t want it,” the report states.

Police noted the woman was “very intoxicated” and that she had “a bruise on her left cheek and a bite mark on her neck.” The officer wrote that the woman said she was not sexually assaulted, so the officer made the incident report and contacted Baylor officials with details, according to ESPN.

The next morning, the woman noticed bruises and pain, and heard accounts of the previous night from friends and from Chatman.

She went to the police department, and the report states “she remembered having a moment of pain in her stomach as if something was too deep inside her.”

After receiving a sexual assault exam at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, the woman declined to press charges.

The alleged victim, a work-study student who graduated in December 2014, said she ran out of a sexual harassment speech for employees because of anxiety and panic attacks, which she said continued through her graduation.

According to ESPN, the Title IX report stated the alleged victim was too drunk to consent to sex, and Armstead should have been aware of that.

Armstead’s family is considering a lawsuit against the school, ESPN reported.

“The decision to report to the university or other authorities is a brave and personal choice and occurs on the survivor’s timetable,” Lewis said. “Once a complaint is filed, the Title IX process moves swiftly to investigate and resolve the complaint fairly.”

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