Jasmin Hernandez, the sexual assault victim of former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott, filed a federal lawsuit against Baylor University, football coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw, for what she claims is a pattern of negligence and violation of Title IX laws that are in place to aid victims of sexual assault.
Hernandez claims Baylor failed to follow its Title IX duty by not creating a safe environment for her on campus after she reported the assault. Elliott was allowed to remain on campus after the assault, and Hernandez says she was told by the campus police department that they could not do anything about it because the assault happened off campus. She says she was also not given counseling she asked for from the university. Elliott was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In the lawsuit, Hernandez notes a report that another woman had reported that Elliott had sexually assaulted her before he assaulted Hernandez. Hernandez claims that negligence put her in danger and that there is a pattern of misconduct by Baylor is similar cases.
Baylor has been criticized for its handling of other situations, including when coaches said that they "expected" former Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu to rejoin the team in 2015, despite the fact that he was being prosecuted for sexual assault. Ukwuachu was later convicted.
The Dallas Morning News contacted the officials named in the lawsuit, but they did not respond. The school issued a statement which said it will respond to the lawsuit after it reviews the complaint.
The suit alleges that Briles is culpable because he allegedly knew about Elliott's sexual misconduct before college, but still chose to recruit him and keep him on the team. Hernandez's lawyer explained Briles' inclusion in a video, saying Briles "absolutely" put football ahead of the safety of other students.
He's the head football coach. He's responsible for recruiting athletes. He's responsible for athlete discipline, or at least football player discipline. We have alleged that he knew of Elliott's sexual misconduct prior to coming to Baylor and nevertheless decided to recruit him, decided to allow him to play football, didn't do anything to educate him about sexual misconduct and what's appropriate at Baylor University. He didn't do anything to otherwise control him and make sure that he wasn't allowed to engage in the criminal acts that were foreseeable, given that he had engaged in the sexual misconduct prior.
In a similar case, a woman at Oregon alleged that the university put her in a dangerous position for recruiting a basketball player who was suspended for an alleged sexual assault at another school, then assaulted her at Oregon. By doing that, she claimed that Oregon and Ducks basketball coach Dana Altman failed in their Title IX duties, failing to create a safe environment for women on campus. She settled with the university for $800,000.