Briles: Baylor made him scapegoat

Published 2:09 am Friday, June 17, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Fired Baylor coach Art Briles is ripping his former employer, accusing the school of wrongful termination and indicating he has no interest in settling a federal lawsuit filed against him and the university by a woman who was raped by a football player.

In a motion filed Thursday as part of the lawsuit. Briles said he wants a judge to assign him new counsel and his personal attorney Ernest Cannon, said the school was using the coach as a scapegoat for its failings in handling allegations of sexual assault.

“The conclusion is inescapable that the motive of Baylor and the Board of Regents was to use its head football coach and the Baylor athletic department as a camouflage to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure to comply” with federal civil rights protections, Cannon wrote to Baylor’s attorneys in the latest development in a scandal that has gripped the world’s largest Baptist university for months.

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He also demanded that Baylor “immediately turn over to me the entire contents of each and every one of their litigation files” — including information given to the Pepper Hamilton law firm that investigated Baylor’s mishandling of sexual assault cases in recent years.

Pepper Hamilton gave university regents an oral presentation and issued a 13-page “Finding of Fact” that was publicly released to support the school’s decision to fire Briles and demote school president and chancellor Ken Starr on May 26.

In his only previous public statement, Briles had complained he hadn’t seen the evidence used to fire him. Since then, Baylor has resisted calls — including a demand from its largest alumni group — to release more details from the Pepper Hamilton investigation.

The letter from Briles’ attorney suggests the coach is still vigorously fighting the decision to fire him and is willing to wage a disruptive legal fight with his former school. Briles said he met with Baylor attorneys on April 7 — and they ended up sharing information he says was used to support his firing.

Briles was named with Baylor as a co-defendant in the rape victim’s lawsuit, and Baylor attorneys last week told the court that the defendants were seeking a settlement.

But without a chance to review the evidence collected by Baylor or Pepper Hamilton, “Mr. Briles does not wish to settle the (lawsuit) and does not consent to any settlement in that case or any other case in which (Briles) is jointly named as a defendant and currently outstanding or filed in the future,” Cannon said in his letter.

According to Cannon’s letter to Baylor, a mediation meeting is scheduled Friday.