Big-money Baylor alums demand new ‘independent’ investigation of sexual assault cases

October 15, 2016: Full stadium during the game between Baylor University and Kansas at McLane Stadium in Waco, TX (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A group of powerful Baylor alums demanded Monday that the school’s board of regents hire a new firm to interview all sides to determine what happened when sexual assault charges were made against football players and other students.

The group also wants the investigation to review the conduct of the regents and the school’s administrators.

Several members of the Bears for Leadership Reform met Monday morning with three Baylor regents to discuss a new investigation. The meeting was described as “spirited.”

John Eddie Williams, a lawyer and spokesman for the reform group, said he and others would donate money to help offset the costs of a new investigation, which he estimated could come with at least a $1 million price tag. The field at McLane Stadium is named for Williams, who has told the American-Statesman he has given “millions and millions of dollars” to the school.

Williams said the group also wants to know how much the school paid for the Philadelphia firm Pepper Hamilton to conduct the initial investigation, which culminated in the firing of school president Ken Starr and football coach Art Briles. Athletic director Ian McCaw was reprimanded and he chose to resign days later.

The Pepper Hamilton report studied how Baylor reacted when athletes and other students were accused of sexual assault. The report found that the football team believed itself to be above the law.

Williams said Monday that it was confirmed that no accused athletes were interviewed as part of the Pepper Hamilton report.

The reform group also continues to question why there is no written record of the Pepper Hamilton report.

Williams said in the meeting Monday that the regents were asked how much the school has paid in overall settlements and why the board took a secrecy oath in regards to the report. He also questioned why anyone who was fired with cause would be given a settlement. Briles agreed to a multi-million dollar buyout of his contract this summer.

Drayton McLane, whose name is on the football stadium, attended the meeting Monday morning, but couldn’t speak at the press conference because of a previous engagement. McLane, the former owner of the Houston Astros, is the biggest benefactor to Baylor in school history.

Former Texas Gov. Mark White and former Baylor regent Randy Ferguson represented the reform group along with Williams during Monday’s press conference.

 

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