WACO, Texas (AP) – Baylor University fired a newly-hired assistant strength and conditioning coach after he was arrested on a prostitution solicitation charge, the latest blow to a school wracked a by a sexual assault scandal.
Brandon Washington was fired Saturday after school officials learned that he had been arrested earlier in the day on a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in a jail and a $2,000 fine.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara says deputies arrested the 33-year-old coach at a Waco-area hotel.
“When we arrived at Baylor, we made a commitment to character and integrity in our program,” new football coach Matt Rhule said. “Brandon’s actions are completely unacceptable. We will not tolerate conduct that is contradictory to these values.”
Rhule was hired from Temple, where Washington was on his staff.
Baylor officials said the school conducted a full background check before hiring Washington. Jason Cook declined to comment on the specifics of Washington’s background check or how the private school conducts them in general, calling it a personnel issue.
The nation’s largest Baptist university faces multiple federal lawsuits as well as a civil rights investigation into claims the school and football program ignored, mishandled or tried to cover up reports of sexual or physical abuse and other criminal misdeeds across campus for years. The scandal led to the firing of football coach Art Briles in 2016 and the demotion and eventual resignation for former president and chancellor Ken Starr. Former athletic director Ian McCaw also resigned. McCaw is now at Liberty University in Virginia.
Multiple women have alleged the school or ignored their complaints of sexual or physical assault by football players. An investigation for the school by the law firm Pepper Hamilton determined the football program operated as if were “above the rules” by interfering with investigations or protecting players from discipline.
School regents have acknowledged the investigation found 17 women who were sexually assaulted, including four cases of gang rape. A lawsuit filed last month puts the number much higher, as a former student identified only as “Elizabeth Doe” alleges knowledge of at least 52 acts of rape by 31 players over a four-year period.
Baylor officials have publicly apologized to victims and said they are improving how the campus responds to assault reports. The school also has reached at least two settlements with women who said they were attacked.
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