Baylor Sex Assault Scandal Hits Prosecutor Who Dug Into Bill Clinton’s Sex Life
A sexual assault scandal at Baylor University has tarnished the man who helped to impeach President Bill Clinton with a 1998 investigation that humiliated now-Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton with tawdry details of her husband’s infidelity. On Thursday, the Baptist school in Waco, Texas, announced that Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater independent counsel, was demoted ...
A sexual assault scandal at Baylor University has tarnished the man who helped to impeach President Bill Clinton with a 1998 investigation that humiliated now-Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton with tawdry details of her husband’s infidelity.
On Thursday, the Baptist school in Waco, Texas, announced that Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater independent counsel, was demoted as its president. He’ll remain at the university as chancellor and a professor at the law school.
An internal Baylor review found “fundamental failure” by the university in its handling of accusations of sexual assault against football players. Under Head Coach Art Briles, Baylor in recent years has transformed from an also-ran in college football to a perennial powerhouse. Briles was fired, and Athletic Director Ian McCaw was placed on probation.
Starr was a key part of Baylor’s investigation into a sexual assault problem within its football program. Since 2014, at least two players have been accused or convicted of sexual assault. The school’s critics accuse Baylor’s administration of sacrificing the safety and well-being of victims and potential victims to keep a winning program on the field.
The investigation kick-started nearly a year ago, when former football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting another Baylor athlete; he was sentenced to 180 days in county jail, 10 years of felony probation, and 400 hours of community service. A year before that, Tevin Elliott, a former Baylor player, was convicted of sexually assaulting a Baylor freshman. Two other Baylor students also testified Elliot had assaulted them, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
After Ukwuachu’s conviction, Starr ordered Baylor faculty athletics representative Jeremy Counseller, who had previously worked as a prosecutor, to review how the school handled the case. Just one week later, based on that inquiry, Starr told Baylor’s Board of Regents to hire outside counsel for a deeper dive. That inquiry led to today’s findings and actions.
“We, as the governing board of this university, offer our apologies to the many who sought help from the university. We are deeply sorry for the harm that survivors have endured,” Ron Murff, chair-elect of the Baylor Board of Regents, said in a statement Thursday.
Starr has recently resurfaced in the news as likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump revives controversy over potential wrongdoing in the Whitewater land deal, a failed business venture involving the Clintons during their time in Arkansas. During the course of the Whitewater investigation, Starr uncovered graphic details of Bill Clinton’s sexual proclivities, including while in the White House.
Yet earlier this week, Starr seemed to be changing his tune on Clinton, who became the second president in U.S. history to be impeached — as a direct result of the lurid Starr Report. “His genuine empathy for human beings is absolutely clear,” Starr said in a panel discussion on the presidency at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. “It is powerful, it is palpable, and the folks of Arkansas really understood that about him — that he genuinely cared. The ‘I feel your pain’ is absolutely genuine.”
Photo credit: JAMIE SQUIRE/Getty Images