A second woman whose job at Baylor was to investigate reports of rape has spoken to ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Like Patty Crawford, the previous Title IX official who talked after leaving Baylor, Gabrielle Lyons describes a bleak situation, one that made her so paranoid she dreamed about rape. Lyons said that the university’s leaders ignored her complaint that the Title IX office needed more people; she received pushback on investigations involving football players; and the amount of violence that was reported at the historically Baptist university shocked her.
Lyons was hired as a Title IX officer, which meant she investigated reports of rape received by the university. She worked under Crawford, who was the Title IX coordinator. Previously an investigator for the federal government, Lyons worked at Baylor from April to November in 2015.
“The violence is what took me back,” [Lyons] said. “My limited understanding was that it was a great Baptist institution. Me, being a Christian myself, I was just appalled at the level of violence taking place so rampantly at the institution.”
As Lyons described it, cases involving football players made up “less than a third” of her caseload, but on those cases she had extra difficulty getting police records and setting up interviews. Lyons said she was told that certain perpetrators had “a potential violence,” so she shouldn’t interview them by herself. It was a meeting that included senior vice president Reagan Ramsower that convinced her to leave:
Lyons said the final straw for her came after an Oct. 5, 2015, meeting with Ramsower, Crawford and another Title IX investigator, Ian McRary, who resigned in December. Lyons said she told Ramsower that “we are suffering,” and the staff needed more support as “it’s keeping me up at night. I felt that if I had the support, I could do it.”
Lyons described Ramsower’s response as “cold” and dismissive.
“At night, I was having nightmares about rape and then I was getting a little paranoid,” Lyons said. “And then the police were saying, ‘You’re not safe to do your job. Look over your shoulder when you go to the parking lot.’”
Lyons, with the help of advocacy group End Rape on Campus, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights on Apr. 27, 2016, a month before Baylor released a report that condemned the university for making life hell for women who reported they were raped—but included no names and held nobody personally responsible for what happened. The U.S. Department of Education didn’t start investigating until Crawford filed her complaint months later, and they did not tell OTL why.
Baylor, through statements, refuted much of what Lyons told OTL. They said holdups with police reports were the fault of Waco police, not them. They said Lyons never told them what she told OTL about any problems. Even the suggestion that she shouldn’t interview certain people by herself, they said, was “far from intending to intimidate” her.
Lyons also told OTL that a description of her on Baylor’s website—on the page dubbed “The Facts”—was wrong. The website gives a timeline that, the university has said, shows all the ways it supported Crawford. On Oct. 12, 2015, a Title IX investigator resigned “after expressing frustration working for Baylor and Crawford in particular,” per the timeline. Lyons told OTL that she is that official and the website is wrong. She left “because of Baylor’s noncompliance.”