Jury finds Baylor guilty of not protecting student who alleged football player assaulted her

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Saturday, November 4, 2023
Jury finds Baylor liable in case of student's assault by athlete
Dolores Lozano, a Houston woman, spoke to ABC13 about a case she won against Baylor University in which she accuses her boyfriend of assault.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the first time since winning her lawsuit against Baylor University, a Houston woman is talking publicly about her case against the revered private institution in Waco.

For Dolores Lozano, the diploma she earned from Baylor University is a testament to both hard work and struggle in the classroom and outside of it.

"I think going to Baylor made me the woman that I am today," she told ABC13.

After high school, Lozano chose Baylor for its beauty and a scholarship. More than a decade ago, she went to Waco with big dreams. She went back the last week of October for a federal trial in which she was the plaintiff and Baylor the defendant.

"Something inside me told me I had to see this all the way through," Lozano said. "It took about seven and a half years to get to my day in court, and I felt like it was important for justice to be prevailed and for an institution to be held accountable."

During her senior year, just a few classes from graduating, she alleged her boyfriend, a Baylor football player, assaulted her twice.

"He grabbed me," Lozano said of one assault. "Choked me, kicked me in the stomach, and when he choked me, I could barely breathe."

Dolores went to teachers, the health clinic, and counselors. She also filed a police report, but her boyfriend was never criminally charged, and the university, she said, failed to act under what's called Title 9.

Congress passed Title 9 in 1972. It states, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Baylor, despite being a private university, receives federal funds. In the years since Dolores graduated, the university has settled multiple lawsuits related to alleged assaults by Baylor football players. They fired then football coach Art Briles in 2016.

"The school was focused on winning football games rather than protecting their students," Lozano said.

The only lawsuit against the university from that era to make it to trial was Dolores'. A jury awarded her $270,000 for negligence and found Baylor guilty of a Title 9 offense, though they did not award any damages.

"I am so grateful that a jury in Waco, Texas found Baylor negligent and also ruled on the basis of Title 9, which I think is historic," she said.

ABC13 reached out to Baylor University's attorney in the case. A university spokesperson responded with the following written statement.

"We are obviously disappointed in the decision in this case, as we continue to contend that Baylor coaches and employees in Athletics and across the campus reported and handled these incidents in the correct, legally and clinically prescribed manner. We sincerely regret that the plaintiff in this case had a difficult experience while a student at Baylor, and our prayers remain with her now and into the future. The safety and security of our students continues to be our top priority as we fulfill our Christian mission to provide a safe and caring environment for all members of the University community. We thank the members of the jury and Judge Pitman for listening to hours of testimony and deliberating this case."

Dolores is not finished seeking justice.

Last year, she was elected Harris County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace, and is planning to attend law school. As for the money the jury awarded her, she is giving it to nonprofits who help domestic abuse survivors and is looking to start her own. Despite it all, she looks at her diploma with pride, and it hangs behind her desk in her chambers. She hopes the Department of Education will update the policies and procedures related to Title 9 to make it easier for students to report issues.

"Every day I kept telling myself that this was bigger than me because it was," she said. "It was for all the women that never came forward."


Is Baylor University liable for a student's sexual assault? The civil trial continues

NCAA declines to punish Baylor over handling of sex assault allegations

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