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Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)
WACO, Texas - Baylor University has explained for the first time how former football coach Art Briles and others responded to a woman's claims that she was gang-raped by five of his players.
The student-athlete informed her head coach in April 2013 that she had been assaulted a year earlier and provided the names of the football players, university officials told The Dallas Morning News in a statement Friday.
The university said the coach reported the matter to Briles, former athletic director Ian McCaw and a sports administrator. But no one reported it to the university's office of Judicial Affairs, as required by federal law, according to the statement.
Briles and McCaw have acknowledged they did not report it to Judicial Affairs, the university said. Baylor officials said McCaw initially denied having any knowledge of the student-athlete's allegation, but later admitted the woman's head coach had told him.
"The internal system of discipline operated by (Briles) was not in line with the university's mission and obligations," Baylor regents chairman Ron Murff told the newspaper. "To Art's credit, he took responsibility for this in discussions with the Board of Regents and in a national media interview."
Briles' lawyer, Ernest Cannon, denies Baylor's account.
"As usual everything Baylor is saying is false," Cannon told the newspaper, adding, "They're up to the same underhanded and dirty tricks."
Earlier this month, Baylor football's offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, Art's son, and other coaches issued a statement arguing that the student-athlete's head coach told the elder Briles that he had reported the assault to McCaw and the Judicial Affairs office himself. It also said that the victim's head coach believed Briles had handled the matter "honorably."
Baylor has struggled for two years with a sexual assault scandal. Regents have told The Wall Street Journal that 17 women had reported domestic violence or sexual assaults that involved 19 football players since 2011, including four gang rapes, and also have told The Dallas Morning News that the school is reviewing about 125 cases of sexual assault or harassment campus-wide.
Art Briles was fired in May, and McCaw resigned. The scandal also led to the demotion of school president Kenneth Starr, who later resigned.
On Thursday, billionaire businessman Drayton McLane, whose name adorns Baylor's football stadium, said he wants to see Briles' honor restored and any evidence that led to his dismissal publicly released by regents. McLane and a group of influential alumni and donors are demanding more transparency from regents, including the release of what was uncovered by a Philadelphia law firm's investigation into how the school handled sexual assaults.
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