Baylor's Title IX leader resigns amid dispute over her role
WACO, Texas (AP) The Title IX coordinator at Baylor University has resigned over a disagreement in her role to oversee changes at the school following claims it mishandled sexual assault cases for several years.
The university said in a statement late Monday that Patty Crawford was ''disappointed'' in her role implementing recommendations by the law firm Pepper Hamilton, which determined earlier this year that the school mishandled rape allegations for years and the football program operated as it if was above the rules. Two former football players were convicted of rape, a third ex-player was indicted in July and other past players have faced accusations.
Pepper Hamilton put forth more than 100 recommendations to eliminate what it deemed the school's ''hostile'' response to women who said they were assaulted. For instance, one recommendation calls for the training of ''senior leadership to understand current federal law and guidance to support the University's Title IX function and set an informed tone at the top.''
Crawford, who became the Title IX coordinator for the largest Baptist university in the U.S. in November 2014, could not be reached for comment Tuesday regarding what specifically the disagreement was about. The Pepper Hamilton investigation covered three academic years, including 2014-2015.
''The University is grateful for Patty's leadership in establishing fair and equitable Title IX processes that are also supportive of the needs of survivors,'' Baylor said in its statement. A school spokeswoman did not return messages seeking elaboration.
The Title IX office oversees things connected to sexual assault, domestic violence and training about the federal law.
Crawford's resignation came the same day that two more women joined a civil rights lawsuit against the school, bringing the number of plaintiffs in the case to eight. The two women who joined Monday allege that they suffered mentally and physically as a result of the school's inaction on their sex assault claims.
Crawford's departure appears to be the latest in a string of setbacks as the university moves to adopt the recommendations.
University officials last month were forced to explain the presence of former player Shawn Oakman, the school's career sacks leader, after being indicted on allegations that he raped a woman at his apartment. He was seen with the team during a game against Rice and later walked into the tunnel toward the locker room, though a Baylor spokesman said he stayed in the hallway.
More recently, Brenda Tracy, who speaks at universities about preventing sexual assault, told ESPN and The Huffington Post that she was pulled aside in July by an assistant coach after talking to Baylor football players and questioned about her visit. Tracy, who says she was the victim of a 1998 gang rape at Oregon State, wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post that the treatment by the coach, whom she did not identify, left her feeling ''defeated.''
The fallout from the sex assault scandal included former president Ken Starr being removed from his post and the firing of football coach Art Briles.