Police respond to allegations of Baylor assault cases being kept from public view

Posted at 6:55 PM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:10-04

The Waco Police Department released a statement after ESPN reported officers kept documents from at least an assault case involving Baylor University football players unavailable to the public in the past.

"The ESPN reporter was using sensationalism to try to sell the story. Facts were taken out of context." said Waco Police Spokesman Patrick Swanton. "We were not hiding anything to protect someone. That is not true."

An ESPN report said the show ‘Outside the Lines’ obtained documents that reveal unknown allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence involving football players at Baylor. According to the report, police documents indicate Baylor officials, including coaches, knew about many of the incidents and most players didn’t face disciplinary actions.

The report states police took extra steps to keep documents from public view in a 2011 assault case that resulted in three football players being charged.

The sports network cited  a police report that indicated the investigating officer asked the commander to pull the case from the computer system for it to only be accessed by certain people. The report was allegedly placed in a locked office.

Swanton said the detective did ask the commander to get the report pulled from the system with the intention of not having interference from outside the investigation. 

“On occasion detectives may pull the narratives of various reports to maintain the integrity of the case and ensure a fair and impartial investigation,” said Swanton in a statement sent to News Channel 25. 

He added certain information is always available when inquired, including date, location, times, times of the offense and a narrative of what occurred. Information not released includes sexual assault victims’ names and suspects until a person is formally charged.

The report also states a sexual assault allegation against a former star player remained as an open case for four years. ESPN says this shields details from public view, under Texas open records law. 

Baylor University Spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said the University cannot comment on specific cases. However, she released this statement on behalf of the university.

"The assessment and recommendations from Pepper Hamilton are currently under review by our Board of Regents. We are certain the actions that result from this deliberative process will yield improvements across a variety of areas that rebuild and reinforce confidence in our University. We are saddened when any student, including a student-athlete, acts in a manner inconsistent with Baylor's mission or is a victim of such behavior."

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