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Starr cuts ties with scandal-rocked Baylor

WACO, Texas (BP) — Ken Starr has resigned his law professorship at Baylor University, cutting final ties with the Baptist school rocked by allegations that it mishandled sexual assault allegations and intimidated female students who complained.

“Frankly, the university determined that it wanted a break in the employment relationship, so I’ve accepted that decision and will, of course, honor the decision,” the Waco Tribune quoted Starr Aug. 19. “Nothing changes my love and respect for Baylor.”

The years-long sexual assault scandal centered on the behavior of the university students, including football players and fraternity members, and university leaders’ handling of reports of sexual abuse and assault, including rape. Baylor is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Starr had served as university president until his termination from that post in May, when an investigation by the Pepper Hamilton LLC law firm found what was deemed “fundamental failure” by Baylor to implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Days later, Starr resigned the university chancellorship, retaining his position as the Louise L. Morrison Chair of Constitutional Law.

Baylor said Starr’s final separation from the university was mutual.

“The mutually agreed separation comes with the greatest respect and love Judge Starr has for Baylor and with Baylor’s recognition and appreciation for Judge Starr’s many contributions to Baylor,” according to an Aug. 19 joint statement on the university’s website. “Baylor wishes Judge Ken Starr well in his future endeavors. Judge Starr expresses his thanks to the Baylor family for the opportunity to serve as president and chancellor and is grateful for his time with the exceptional students of Baylor University who will lead and serve around the world.”

New Baylor arrest

As interim president David Garland works to implement the 112 recommendations made in the Pepper Hamilton investigation report, the scandal has continued to unfold.

Baylor offensive lineman Rami Hammad was arrested Aug. 1 and charged with third-degree felony stalking of a Baylor student who told police Hammad had followed her multiple times and assaulted her twice since she ended their relationship in May, ESPN Outside the Lines reported Aug. 4.

A Baylor student reported last fall to Baylor’s Title IX office that Hammad sexually assaulted her, ESPN reported.

“She said she didn’t report the incident to police because she did not perceive what happened to be rape, and she said she was worried about the repercussions of reporting a football player,” the Outside the Lines report states. But Hammad continued to play on the team and was not suspended until the Aug. 1 stalking arrest.

Hammad was released from jail Aug. 2 on a $5,000 surety bond, the Waco Tribune reported, and remains suspended from the team.

Among sexual assault cases under Starr’s watch, former Baylor defensive end Tevin Elliott was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000 in 2014 for sexually assaulting a student at a party, and football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted in 2015 of sexually assaulting a university soccer player. Ukwuachu was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 10 years of felony probation and 400 hours of community service.

Shawn Oakman, a member of Baylor’s 2015 team, was arrested on a sexual assault charge in April, the Waco Tribune reported.

After the Pepper Hamilton investigation, the university’s board of regents also created a new full-time position of chief compliance officer to report directly to the president’s office, sanctioned and placed on probation athletic director Ian McCaw, fired additional but unnamed members of the administration and athletics programs, clarified the roles of several departmental staff members and committed to institute “robust training” before the fall 2016 semester.

The university terminated in May head football coach Art Briles.

Starr had served as Baylor president since 2010 and as chancellor since 2013. He is noted as a former federal judge and special prosecutor who pursued several allegations against former U.S. President Bill Clinton, including sexual misconduct involving Monica Lewinsky.