WACO, Texas (AP) — Three students at Baylor University say the school failed to act on their allegations that they were sexually assaulted by a former football player later convicted in one of those cases, ESPN reports.
The sports media outlet’s program “Outside The Lines” reported that an administrator told one of the students that Baylor had received multiple complaints against Tevin Elliott, who earned a Big 12 honorable mention as a sophomore defensive end in 2011. The administrator said Baylor could not act because “it turns into a he said-she said,” according to one of the students.
ESPN did not identify the three women. One of them told Waco police in 2012 that she was assaulted twice at a party when she was a freshman. Elliott was charged and in 2014 convicted of two counts of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In a prison interview with ESPN, Elliott, 24, argued the sex was consensual, adding that big-name athletes “could be innocent but we’re guilty until proven innocent.”
Baylor issued a statement Monday to The Associated Press that didn’t address the allegations against the university by the women.
“The topic of interpersonal violence on college campuses is of great concern nationally and to us at Baylor. Acts of sexual violence contradict every value Baylor University upholds as a caring Christian community,” it said.
The statement also noted Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, which was hired by Baylor, continues to review how the school responds to cases of sexual violence. Law firm spokesman Daniel Pulka said in an email that the review will continue into the spring, but didn’t specify when it will conclude and forward the findings to the university’s board of regents.
Elliott was convicted a year before another Baylor football player, Sam Ukwuachu, was sentenced to six months in jail for sexual assault. A jury ruled that Ukwuachu assaulted a former Baylor women’s soccer player.
The McLennan County assistant district attorney who prosecuted both Elliott and Ukwuachu criticized Baylor’s handling of sexual assault complaints.
“If they’re sitting around and waiting for a victim who has been pulled off the jogging path and raped by a stranger wearing a trench coat, they’re going to be waiting for a long time,” Hilary Laborde told ESPN.