WACO - The Texas Rangers have launched an investigation into Baylor, as a result of the University's sexual assault scandal, a source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to Channel 6 on Wednesday.
Baylor has previously confirmed it is aware of at least 17 victims who have reported allegations of sexual assault against 19 football players since 2011. Court documents suggest the number could be as high as 52 rapes by 31 football players from 2011-2014.
When the Pepper Hamilton Law Firm conducted a University-commissioned investigation of the scandal in 2016, Baylor claims lawyers did not compile a final written report, instead opting to deliver the findings orally to the Board of Regents. The lack of transparency sparked concerns among high-profile donors and alumni who formed an organization called Bears for Leadership Reform, which has been seeking change ever since.
State Representative Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) recently filed legislation (HR 664) urging Governor Greg Abbott to instruct the Texas Rangers to investigate "the obstruction of justice surrounding the sexual assault of young female students at Baylor University."
While Rep. Gutierrez's spokesperson said his office's legislation did not "force" the Rangers to act, the office was aware of the newly launched investigation.
“Yesterday I was informed by the DPS that the Texas Rangers have a pending investigation into Baylor University," Rep. Gutierrez said in a statement. "We appreciate their expeditious efforts and look forward to the findings of their investigation."
As of Wednesday afternoon, the scope of the investigation was unclear.
"The Texas Rangers are working with the local prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if further action is warranted," Texas Department of Public Safety Press Secretary Tom Vinger told Channel 6 in a statement.
The Baylor scandal resulted in the firing of Head Football Coach Art Briles, the demotion of President Ken Starr and the probation of Athletic Director Ian McCaw. The latter two later resigned. Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford also quit as a result of the saga, proceeding to blame University administrators for failing to adequately support her investigative team.
Baylor University released the following statement:
“Baylor University pledges to extend our full cooperation with the Texas Rangers surrounding the issue of sexual assaults that occurred within our campus community several years ago, as we have done with other external inquiries that are currently underway.”
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