Ken Starr’s appointment to Trump’s impeachment team renews interest in his turbulent term at Baylor University

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He didn’t have much experience running a university, but Starr was notorious, said the ESPN investigative journalist Paula Lavigne who has written about the possession of Starr in Baylor. It was someone that university officials thought could stimulate students and attract donors. On campus, he quickly became a familiar face and popular leader among the students and helped usher in a revival of Baylor’s reputation, led by a rising football team.
But six years after taking office, the University Board of Regents downgraded Starr as president following a sexual assault controversy involving the school’s soccer team and beyond. An independent report showed a “fundamental failure” to adequately respond to the student accusations of sexual assault. Starr remained as Chancellor, but then resigned from that position in June 2016, a few days after his degradation was announced. The outstanding football coach and athletic director of the school were also expelled.
Starr’s appointment to the legal team representing Trump has aroused interest in his time at Baylor, the world’s largest Baptist university. In a statement in May 2016, Starr expressed remorse for victims of sexual assault and said he did not notice any reports of violence until the fall of 2015, at which point he immediately initiated an investigation.

“I think Ken Starr’s role in Baylor was someone who really didn’t know what was happening, but he should have known,” said Lavigne, co-author of “Violated: Exposing rape at Baylor University in the midst of the assault crisis. college football sex. ” an interview on Tuesday with CNN. “He would have been the one who in 2011 would have received the rules and guidelines of the Department of Ed. About what universities are supposed to do to address sexual assault. And he was responsible for putting people and policies into practice. to do that.”

But Lavigne said Starr “really didn’t make this a priority, even though these sexual assault problems were becoming the center of attention in universities across the country.”

Starr declined to comment when CNN contacted him Monday.

What the independent review found

Two accusations of sexual assaults by Baylor students by soccer players appeared in 2012 and 2013.

Both players were convicted of sexual assault: Tevin Elliott in 2014 and Sam Ukwuachu a year later.

Elliott was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of two counts of sexual assault.

The guilt agreement of the former fraternity leader is the latest in a series of sexual assault scandals in Baylor
Ukwuachu was transferred to Baylor from Boise State University after being fired for undisclosed reasons that Texas Monthly said they involved a “previous incident of violence that involved a student.” He received a six-month, 10-year probation sentence after his conviction in August 2015 for sexually assaulting a Baylor soccer player.

That same month, Baylor University commissioned the Pepper Hamilton law firm to conduct an independent and external review of the “institutional response of the university to Title IX and related compliance issues.”

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs funded by the federal government. The law covers sexual harassment and sexual violence. If schools find out about bullying that creates a hostile environment, they must take steps to eliminate it, prevent it from happening again and address its effects.

The Pepper Hamilton law firm reviewed Baylor’s Title IX processes, including reports of sexual violence or sexual violence between 2011 and 2015.

The report found that “the school’s student behavior processes were totally inadequate to provide a quick and equitable response” and “could not consistently support whistleblowers.”

“The actions of the administrators of the University directly deterred some complainants from denouncing or participating in the student’s behavior processes and, in one case, retaliated against a complainant for reporting a sexual assault,” according to the report, according to the report. University statement.

The school encountered problems within the athletic department, “including the lack of identification and response to a pattern of sexual violence by a soccer player and a report of violence in courtship.”

Why Baylor's rape statement is not so surprising to lawyersWhy Baylor's rape statement is not so surprising to lawyers
“There are important concerns about the tone and culture within the Baylor soccer program in regard to responsibility for all forms of student athletes’ misconduct,” said the university citing the findings.
Art Briles, the Baylor soccer coach who transformed the program into a machine house, was fired by the university. Briles has defended its reputation. “I did not cover up sexual violence. I had no contact with anyone who claimed to be a victim of sexual or domestic assault,” he said, according to the Bleacher Report.

Other unidentified members of the school administration and athletic department were dismissed.

“We were horrified by the scope of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the mismanagement of University reports in what should have been a supportive, receptive and caring environment for students,” Richard Willis, Chairman of the Board of Regents, said then in a press release.

“The depth to which these acts occurred shocked us and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have dedicated our full attention to improving our processes, establishing responsibility and ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to support the former , current and future students, “said Willis.

Starr defends his mandate in Baylor

At that time, Baylor said he would create a working group to implement the recommendations in the report, including reviewing all cases of “interpersonal violence” in the past three years to “offer solutions, identify any current need for investigation or isolate any broad pattern or cultural implications. “

The university also promised to expand counseling offers to help victims of sexual assault.

In an interview with the Texas Tribune months after his dismissal and resignation, Starr said the Board of Regents did not fire him “for cause.”

“They honored my contract. Then it was a decision that we need someone else. It is the determination of the board. It would be, if there is a matter of integrity, to fire the person for cause,” Starr said in the September 2016 interview. .

He defended Baylor’s handling of sexual assault allegations and said he made campus security a priority by pointing to a working group he created at the beginning of his term.

“I think we’ve responded all the way reasonably to the information that came to us,” Starr said.

Ken Starr resigns as Chancellor of BaylorKen Starr resigns as Chancellor of Baylor

Starr said he was “respecting the authority of the Board of Regents” when he resigned and has repeatedly said he resigned as an act of conscience.

“They want someone else to handle it, and if they felt, they accepted the proposition that there was a fundamental failure, then the captain should get off with the ship,” he said.

Starr is responsible for the findings in the independent report because he was in charge, said Jim Dunnam, a Baylor graduate and a Texas attorney representing 15 prosecutors of sexual assault in an ongoing lawsuit against Baylor.

“It was the chancellor and the president … I think that says it all,” Dunnam told CNN in an interview.

“He was in charge during a period in which the university had a deliberate policy of ignoring Title IX, not complying with the Clery Act. And it was a policy that discriminated against young women and deprived their educational opportunity,” Dunnam said.

The Clery Act was established in 1990, four years after Lehigh University student Jeanne Clery was killed on campus. It requires universities to report crime on campus annually.

Lavigne said that according to reports and information about Starr’s time in Baylor, “there really hasn’t been a case where someone can say that Ken Starr made specific efforts to cover up any particular sexual assault.” The criticism was that Starr was distracted from managing the daily operations of running a university, he said.

“I hate using this term, but it is accurate, he was about to have lunch on the subject,” Lavigne said.

Jay Croft, Shawn Nottingham, Steve Almasy, Tami Luhby, Kaitlan Collins, Pamela Brown and Kevin Liptak of CNN contributed to this report.

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