Ricky Patel, the Indian American lawyer of former Baylor University acrobatics and tumbling coach, LaPrise Harris-Williams, says that she will file a Title IX lawsuit against the school.
According to a Waco Tribune-Herald report, Patel said that Harris-Williams left Baylor in 2014 after a three-year stint at the school, attended a pre-lawsuit mediation Thursday and left the meeting unsatisfied.
“We found out that Baylor University is not taking us seriously. We’re now finding out that a lot of people who are settling; Baylor just wants to get this over with. LaPrise wants to make sure that when this is over, Baylor implements things so it makes the university better than when she left,” Patel told the Waco Tribune-Herald.
“As of right now, we’re getting ready to file litigation and prepare to find out exactly what is going on behind the scenes,” he added.
Patel said that 40 women have told Harris-Williams about a culture of sexual violence at Baylor and at least a dozen others told her about their personal experiences of sexual assault, most are suffering from depression.
Patel also represents Dolores Lozano, a former Baylor student with an active Title IX lawsuit against the school however; the university has decided to dismiss it.
Lozano worked as a manager for the acrobatics team under Harris-Williams, Lozano has said in her lawsuit. She claims to have been physically assaulted by then-Baylor football player Devin Chafin.
The university “strongly disagrees” with the claims and “will continue to defend itself vigorously,” the school said in a statement Thursday and added that Harris-Williams “separated from the University in 2014 pursuant to the provisions of her contract, receiving a severance payment without complaint.”
“Since Ms. Harris-Williams left the university in May 2014, Baylor’s acrobatics and tumbling team has been extremely successful, winning three national championships under a new coaching staff,” according to the statement.
“Additionally, the university has made significant enhancements to strengthen its prevention of and response to sexual violence, which include the structural completion of 105 recommendations and a new institutional leadership team.”
Harris-Williams now teaches gymnastics to 3-year-olds in St. Vincent, Florida because she could not find a job in the United States due to Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, Patel said.
The university said her departure “had nothing to do with any Title IX-related issues, in spite of what she is now alleging. Any suggestions to the contrary are, quite simply, false.”
If Harris-Williams files the suit next week, it would be the 10th such case filed against Baylor arising from the scandal.