Baylor University did not report any cases of sexual assault from 2008 to 2011, according to federal statistics reviewed by The Associated Press, shining more light on allegations of mishandling of sexual violence by the school in Waco, Texas.
"There's always a red flag that goes up when a school reports zero incidents,'' Neena Chaudhry, senior counsel for the National Women's Law Center, told the AP. "I don't think it's a good sign when you're not getting any reports because it's probably not true.''
Earlier this month, Outside The Lines reported the stories of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Baylor athletes. The women said the university did not properly investigate their allegations or give them the help required by federal guidelines.
Among the women who spoke with OTL was one of five people who reported to police that they had been assaulted by football player Tevin Elliott in incidents from October 2009 through April 2012. Elliott was eventually prosecuted and found guilty, in January 2014, of a 2012 sexual assault, for which he was sentenced to 20 years.
McLennan County Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde prosecuted both Elliott and another Baylor football player, Sam Ukwuachu, who was convicted last year for a 2013 sexual assault. She told the AP that it's "ridiculous'' to think that no assaults occurred at Baylor from 2008 to '11.
The AP reported that the data shows that of 200 schools in the United States with enrollments similar to Baylor's, about two dozen reported no offenses. Baylor has an enrollment of 16,000, at least 5,000 more than both Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. But during the four-year span in which Baylor reported zero incidents, SMU reported 15 and TCU reported 13. In the next three years, 2012 to '14, AP says Baylor reported 12 cases, while TCU reported 31 and SMU 16.
Michele Davis, a former member of a Baylor advisory board that reviewed sexual assault response issues, told OTL that she sees a disproportionate number of sexual assault cases linked to the university's athletes. As the sexual assault nurse examiner for McLennan County, she says she is often the first person who interviews women who come to local hospitals reporting they've been raped.
"Baylor has more sexual assault cases -- that we do exams on -- compared to the other schools with the same approximate population," she said. She said she sees about eight Baylor students a year, and of those, she said Baylor athletes make up between 25 percent to 50 percent of the alleged perpetrators -- a high percentage, considering athletes make up just 4 percent of the undergraduate male population at Baylor.
Baylor University president and chancellor Ken Starr did not respond to the AP's request for comment. But days after the OTL report, he outlined in a letter to the Baylor community a "comprehensive external review" of the school's response to sexual violence reports that he says was initiated last fall.