Lawyers, rape victim file lawsuit against Baylor University

On Wednesday, The Zalkin Law Firm announced the filing of a federal Title IX civil lawsuit on against the Baylor University Board of Regents on behalf of a former student, Jasmin Hernandez, who was sexually assaulted and raped by another student, East Texas native and former football player Tevin Elliott, while attending the university. 
The lawsuit claims that Baylor failed to comply with Title IX requirements in response to complaints by students who were victims of campus sexual assault, and in particular the complaint by Hernandez. 
The complaint also alleges that Baylor authorities were negligent in that they had notice that Elliott had sexually assaulted at least one other female student prior to his sexual assault of Hernandez. Knowing this, the university failed to take reasonable measures to prevent him from hurting other students. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court Western District of Texas.
The civil complaint outlines the details of sexual assault and rape suffered by Hernandez, while she was a student at Baylor University. Hernandez was a Baylor freshman on academic scholarship at the time she was raped by Elliott during a party at an off-campus location in April 2012. Hernandez was one of five women who reported to police they were either raped or assaulted — in incidents from October 2009 to April 2012 — by Elliott, who was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in January 2014 for the incident involving Hernandez.
The civil complaint details how Hernandez and her mother reported the rape and sexual assault to Baylor’s Counseling Center the very next day seeking help and counseling for Hernandez. None was offered. They then sought assistance from the Psychology Department of Baylor’s Student Health Center where they were advised that there was nothing available for Hernandez. 
Hernandez and her mother desperately sought academic accommodation from Baylor’s Academic Services Department due to her traumatized emotional state. Hernandez’s mother was told “if a plane falls on your daughter, there’s nothing we can do to help you.” 
Hernandez’s mother then called Coach Briles directly. She received a return call from a secretary that the matter was being looked into.
Hernandez’s father called Briles again after receiving no response. His call was never returned. Hernandez reported the rape to Waco Police.
The lawsuit alleges that Baylor and Head Football Coach, Art Briles, were aware of previous allegations of sexual assault by Elliott of at least one other female Baylor students prior to his assault of Hernandez. In direct violation of federal law known as Title IX, which prohibits gender-based discrimination in the form of sexual harassment or sexual assault, Baylor authorities were deliberately indifferent to prior sexual assaults and Hernandez’s complaints and allowed Elliott to remain on campus exposing the victim to being sexually assaulted and to further harassment after the assault by this known perpetrator. 

Title IX requires universities to protect students from any sexual assault by other students or faculty that impacts their ability to obtain equal access to educational opportunities and benefits offered by the school. Universities that receive complaints of sexual violence are required to exercise due diligence in investigating and responding to those complaints to protect the victim and eliminate a gender-based hostile environment.
“This case is yet another example of the indifference of college campuses to the hostile and discriminatory environment they foster against female and some male students due to their tolerance of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Alex Zalkin, attorney for Hernandez. “Rather than following the law intended to protect victims like our client, Baylor failed to investigate these allegations, allowed Elliott to remain a threat to other female students, and did nothing to offer any counseling or academic support which ultimately forced her to drop out of Baylor.”

Two causes of action against the defendants are detailed in the civil complaint; violation of Title IX and common law negligence The complaint asks for unspecified monetary compensation for physical and emotional damages, past and future medical expenses for therapy and counseling, loss of educational opportunities, loss of potential earning capacity, and punitive damages.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Right Now

Don't Miss

Community Calendar

KETK Twitter & Facebook

FOX51 Twitter & Facebook