A second former Title IX officer at Baylor University is speaking publicly for the first time about the lack of institutional support and the problems she encountered during her tenure. Gabrielle Lyons, who resigned her position at the school in November of 2015, says that top-level Baylor officials routinely withheld information she needed to investigate sexual assault claims from students at the Waco, Texas, institution. Speaking to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Ms. Lyons said:
“The violence is what took me aback. My limited understanding was that it was a great Baptist institution. Me, being a Christian myself, I was just appalled at the level of violence taking place so rampantly at the institution.”
Ms. Lyons said the final straw came during a Oct. 5, 2015, meeting with Reagan Ramsower, Baylor’s senior vice president for operations and chief financial officer. Ms. Lyons said she told Mr. Ramsower that “we are suffering,” and the staff needed more support as “it’s keeping me up at night. I felt that if I had the support, I could do it.” Ms. Lyons described his response as “cold” and dismissive. According to the ESPN report, Ms. Lyons said that although cases involving football players comprised less than a third of her workload, she received the most pushback from Baylor officials on getting police records and arranging interviews on those cases. Ms. Lyons’ complaints about Baylor and the lack of support the school provided for those investigating sexual assaults of women on campus closely track the statements of former Baylor Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford, who quit in 2016 and filed a similar complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Dallas attorney Rogge Dunn, who represents both women says:
“Gabrielle and her boss, Patty Crawford, were placed in a hostile work environment and set up for failure by individuals who didn’t want to support the law or the victims of sexual assault. Gabrielle confirms everything Patty has been saying. She makes it clear that Baylor officials did not want to acknowledge the reality of sexual assault among students and stonewalled virtually any attempt she made to pursue legitimate claims. Her exposure of Baylor’s failures to comply with Title IX provides additional evidence for the victims who have sued Baylor and increases their chances of winning those lawsuits.”
Mr. Dunn says that Ms. Lyons’ statements and evidence provided to the Office of Civil Rights increases the chances that the Department of Education will take action against Baylor. Ms. Lyons, who now lives in Chicago, filed a Title IX complaint and an EEOC charge against Baylor last year, and those investigations are ongoing.
For more information, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.