DALLAS (AP) — A woman has filed a federal lawsuit against Baylor University contending that the largest Baptist school in the country was “deliberately indifferent” to rape allegations levied at a former football player who was later convicted of sexually assaulting her.
The lawsuit alleges that the Texas school failed to take action against Tevin Elliott despite receiving six complaints from women claiming he assaulted them. The allegations come about a week after the school announced new measures to improve the school’s response to sexual assaults, including hiring more counselors and additional training for faculty and staff.
The lawsuit was filed by Jasmin Hernandez of Orange County, California. Elliott was convicted in 2014 of sexually assaulting Hernandez and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
Hernandez’s attorney, Alex Zalkin, said Thursday that Hernandez wants to speak publicly to draw attention to the case. The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify sexual assault victims.
“Baylor literally turned her away from health services, academic accommodations and failed to investigate her claims,” Zalkin said.
Hernandez, a former Baylor student, said she was raped at an off-campus party in 2012. She said the school’s failure to act against Elliott caused her emotional distress and led to failing grades. She lost an academic scholarship she had earned to study nursing.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the university’s board of regents, Athletic Director Ian McCaw and football coach Art Briles. Among Hernandez’s allegations are that players were recruited without regard to the harm they might cause fellow students.
A spokeswoman for the university did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment on the lawsuit. A message left with the school’s Athletic Department for McCaw and Briles was not returned.
The university said last week that changes being made to how it responds to reports of sexual assault are part of a $5 million commitment to improve its efforts. Changes include adding another investigator and an administrative assistant to the school’s Title IX office. Case management systems also will be enhanced.
Hernandez argues in her lawsuit that Baylor violated federal Title IX protections against sexual harassment.