Investigators Believe Baylor's Student Code Pressured Sexual Assault Victims into Silence

Investigators believe Baylor's Baptist-rooted student conduct code discouraged sexual assault victims from coming forward

The sexual assault scandal that rocked Baylor University’s football team is growing deeper within the university itself. The nation’s largest Baptist university has a student conduct code that bans premarital sex on top of drugs and alcohol, which investigators with the Pepper Hamilton law firm believe may have influenced rape victims to stay quiet.

"A number of victims were told that if they made a report of rape, their parents would be informed of the details of where they were and what they were doing," Chad Dunn told the Associated Press, a Houston attorney who represents six women who have sued Baylor.

"Expectations for our students are outlined in university conduct policies and are a reflection of our faith-based mission," school spokeswoman Tonya Lewis told the AP.

With the student conduct code, students can still be expelled for using drugs or alcohol, though the code implemented an amnesty policy for minor offenses last year. According to the AP, Pepper Hamilton investigators urged the school to extend an amnesty policy to sexual conduct code violations after the federal government told all U.S. universities and colleges that certain policies may have a “chilling effect” on those choosing to report sexual assault.

According to the AP, Baylor officials already making changes. Interim President David Garland, who took over after Ken Starr was removed as president, said the university considered all of the Pepper Hamilton recommendations as "mandates."


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