Ex-coach Briles: ‘I did not cover up sexual violence’
Former Baylor coach Art Briles, in a statement issued Thursday, insisted he never covered up allegations of sexual assault and said the school’s regents should be more transparent.
Briles wrote the statement in letter form, addressing it to Baylor Nation.
“Despite the insistence of certain people, I can remain silent no longer,” Briles wrote.
“Let me be clear. I did not cover up sexual violence. I had no contact with anyone that claimed to be a victim of sexual or domestic assault. Anyone well-versed in my work as a coach knows that I strove to promote excellence but never at the sacrifice of safety for anyone. I did not obstruct justice on campus or off.”
Briles was fired May 26 after an independent investigation determined he and the football program believed itself to be above the law when faced with allegations of sexual assault. Briles and the school reached a contractual settlement, believed to be in excess of $15 million. As part of the settlement, Briles had agreed to not talk about the allegations. He said Baylor never explained why he was being terminated.
The NCAA and the federal government are investigating Baylor. The Texas Rangers, at the bequest of a group of state representatives, also are looking at how Baylor handled the allegations.
Baylor officials, even after multiple requests, said they would release no more information about the investigation. Then in October, regents hired a public relations firm and some of them began talking to national media outlets. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to regents, 17 women said they’d suffered either sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 football players. There also were allegations of four gang rapes. However, KWTX, a Waco television station, quoted an unnamed regent who said most of the allegations had no facts to support them.
In January, the case again made headlines when a woman filed a federal lawsuit against the school saying she was gang raped by two football players and that the team used sex to entice recruits. The woman, who was identified as Elizabeth Doe, said she’d been a member of the football team’s hostess program called the Baylor Bruins.
The lawsuit said she was aware that 31 football players had committed 52 acts of rape between 2011-14. The lawsuit did not provide documentation of the rapes.
Within days, Colin Shillinglaw, a Baylor assistant athletic director who was terminated with Briles last May, filed a libel and slander lawsuit against several regents. In answering Shillinglaw’s suit, the regents said: “the football program was a black hole into which reports of misconduct such as drug use, physical assault, domestic violence, brandishing of guns, indecent exposure and academic fraud disappeared.”
The response also included messages that were sent by Briles and Shillinglaw in regards to some of the charges.
On Thursday, Briles said those texts were taken out of context.