Attorneys in a sexual assault lawsuit against Baylor University say they’ve obtained records that suggest a former Baylor interim president told an administrator to delete emails related to the suit.
The allegation was in a motion, filed Wednesday, and is the latest development in a federal civil rights lawsuit in which several women have accused the Waco-based university of repeatedly mishandling, ignoring or stifling claims of sexual and physical abuse of students.
The attorneys for the 10 women claim in the motion that they’ve obtained an email that shows that then-interim President David Garland wrote to a “high-level Baylor athletics official” and told him, “I would erase the emails.”
“How many other Baylor officials were directed to destroy evidence is presently unknown, but that this directive was issued directly in response to the Jane Doe lawsuit and similar lawsuits is reasonable to conclude,” the motion says. “What is clear is that several months after the Hernandez lawsuit was filed, and three weeks after being appointed as Baylor's interim president, Garland instructed at least one senior administrator who was directly involved in the sexual assault issues to destroy e-mails.”
The motion’s mention of “the Hernandez lawsuit” refers to former Baylor student Jasmin Hernandez, who was the first of several women to file federal Title IX lawsuits against Baylor. The university settled Hernandez’s lawsuit last year.
Baylor officials told the Waco Tribune-Herald on Wednesday that they are not aware that the email is related to the scandal.
Lisa Brown, an attorney representing Baylor, said these are “wildly unsubstantiated conclusions based on one vague email,” the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
The motion does not name the athletics official, but says he “was directly involved in the sexual assault investigations and a member of the Sexual Assault Task Force Committee.”
The lawsuit was filed one day after Garland sent the email.