Fired Baylor athletics staffer seeks Pepper Hamilton report

A fired Baylor University assistant athletic director has petitioned a Dallas County court to depose three regents and order the school to turn over the Pepper Hamilton report.

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DALLAS—A fired Baylor University assistant athletic director has petitioned a Dallas County court to depose three regents and order the school to turn over the report produced by Pepper Hamilton, the law firm that investigated Baylor’s handling of sexual violence.

Thomas Hill worked 28 years at Baylor, most recently as assistant athletic director for community relations and special projects.

“But when the sexual assaults by Baylor University athletes became public, Baylor rushed to judgment,” according to the petition filed by Hill’s attorneys. “Baylor summarily fired Hill, even though Hill did nothing wrong regarding the sexual assaults that occurred at Baylor. While not to the same degree as the courageous women who were victimized in this dark time in Baylor’s history, Hill is yet another—and unnecessary—victim of this controversy.” 

The petition seeks depositions from three regents who live in Dallas County—Chairman Ronald Murff, banker Mark Lavvorn and attorney David Harper.

It also asks the court to compel Baylor’s regents to produce all material related to Hill’s termination, including “written and oral communications Baylor had with the Pepper Hamilton law firm regarding alleged assaults, batteries or wrongdoings committed by Baylor athletes against Baylor students.”

The petition also seeks:

  • Documents, reports and information the regents considered or reviewed—“including any reports from Pepper Hamilton”—regarding alleged assaults or other wrongdoing Baylor athletes committed against other students.
  • Discussions the board conducted regarding Hill and whether he should be fired, and board discussions regarding knowledge by athletics department employees of alleged wrongdoing by athletes.
  • Criteria and standards Baylor used to determine whether to fire any athletics department employee.

Baylor officials did not respond to a request for comment about the petition.

Last September, Baylor regents hired Pepper Hamilton to investigate the university’s response to reports of sexual violence. 

The investigation revealed a “fundamental failure” by Baylor to implement Title IX and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, according to a 13-page “Findings of Fact” document the regents released. Baylor regents also released a 10-page set of 105 recommendations from Pepper Hamilton. 

However, neither the regents nor the university administration released a full report from the Pepper Hamilton investigation, insisting regents received only an oral presentation.

Two weeks after regents received the “comprehensive briefing” from Pepper Hamilton, the board on May 26 announced plans to demote President Ken Starr, fire Head Football Coach Art Briles and sanction Athletic Director Ian McCaw, who resigned a few days later. 

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