May 26, 2016
Contacts: Alex Zalkin Irwin Zallkin
858-259-3011 office 858-259-3011 office
858-945-2147 mobile 858-945-2144 mobile
The Lawsuit Named Coach Art Briles and Ian McCaw, Athletic Director as Defendants In the Civil Claim
San Diego, CA – The recently filed Title IX civil lawsuit against the Baylor University Board, Briles and McCaw on behalf of Jasmin Hernandez, a former Baylor University student who was raped by Tevin Elliott, a Baylor football player, has served as fuel for the Baylor Board of Regents action today to demote University President Ken Starr and terminate head Football Coach Art Briles. The lawsuit claims that Baylor failed to comply with Title IX requirements to investigate and support students who are victims of campus sexual assault. The complaint was filed in March in the United States District Court, Western District of Texas, Waco Division. The lawsuit alleges that Football Coach, Art Briles, was well aware of prior sexual assaults by Elliot and failed to take any action to protect other students from this predator.
This week, as news of the Board of Regents actions to possibly terminate or demote President Starr came out, Jasmin has stepped forward to offer her comments to the news media about her case and what she endured as a sexual assault victim at Baylor.
“Jasmin Hernandez showed incredible courage by publicly stepping forward and filing this high profile complaint against the University,” said Irwin Zalkin, attorney for Hernandez. “As one of several victims of sexual assault by Baylor football players, her lawsuit added to the growing pressure on the University to take action. Ken Starr, of all people, should have taken action sooner to prevent sexual harassment and assault against female students, and Art Briles should have been terminated long ago.”
The civil complaint outlines the details of alleged sexual assault and rape suffered by the Plaintiff, Jasmin Hernandez, while she was a student at Baylor University. Ms. Hernandez was a Baylor freshman at the time she was raped by Tevin Elliott, at an off campus location in 2012. Elliott was eventually charged and convicted of the rape and is presently serving 20 years in prison. Ms. Hernandez was one of six women who reported that they were either raped or assaulted — in incidents from October 2009 to April 2012 — by Elliott, who was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in January 2014 for the incident involving Ms. Hernandez.
The civil complaint details how the Plaintiff reported the rape and sexual assault to university authorities who refused to investigate, and never offered any support or assistance to Jasmin. She also reported the sexual assault to Baylor Campus Police. She contacted the Baylor Student Health Center to seek counseling and was told there was no one who could help her.
Her efforts to seek support after her rape continued when her mother contact Baylor’s academic services group for assistance and was told there were no resources available to help her daughter. Another call was made to academic services which only led to exit forms being given to Ms. Hernandez to sign with no offer of academic support.
Hernandez’s mother and father both sought to speak with Coach Briles directly, but those efforts were rebuffed.
She lost her academic scholarship and eventually dropped out of the University, moved home to attend a community college, giving up her dream to study nursing at a major university.
Federal law known as Title IX requires academic institutions who receive federal funds to protect students from gender discrimination including sexual harassment and sexual assault by fellow students. These institutions are required to respond immediately and equitably once it receives actual knowledge of a report of sexual assault of a student. They must also act to protect the victim from further harassment and exposure to a hostile environment including providing the student with adequate accommodation so that she is not denied equal access to academic opportunities. The complaint contends that Baylor failed to meet its responsibilities under Title IX and state common law negligence law that require universities to provide security, counseling services and academic help to those who report sexual assaults.
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