Texas AG’s office lets Baylor keep sexual assault investigations secret

By Bobby Blanchard
The Dallas Morning News
Originally published Feb. 12, 2016

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office issued an opinion earlier this week allowing Baylor University to keep investigations into recent sexual assaults at Baylor University secret.

“I totally disagree,” said Coleman, who helped pass the bill that made police departments at private Texas universities respond to open records requests. “Anybody with common sense would say that common law privacy does not apply to all the information.”

Joe Larsen, a Houston-based attorney who is an expert on open records, agreed.

“You already know that this person is the victim of a sexual assault, so I’m not sure what privacy interests you’re really protecting,” Larsen said.

According to a report by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” three women said the university did nothing when they reported sexual assaults by former Baylor defensive end Tevin Elliott. ESPN and the AP put in requests for the Baylor’s investigation, but the AG said they can stay private.

“We believe in this instance, withholding only identifying information from the requestor would not preserve the victims’ common-law rights to privacy,” wrote assistant attorney general David Wheelus.

Texas is one of several states that requires private universities respond to open records request.