Starr steps down as Baylor chancellor after sex assault scandal

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2016 1:17 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Former Baylor University President Kenneth Starr resigned as chancellor of the world's largest Baptist university on Wednesday after being implicated in a report for not doing enough to probe sexual assaults by athletes.

Starr, who rose to prominence for his exhaustive investigation of sex scandals surrounding then-President Bill Clinton, stepped down as chancellor but will keep his post as a professor in Baylor's law school.

"With sorrow, earlier this morning, I announced my resignation effective immediately as chancellor of Baylor University as a matter of conscience," Starr said in an exclusive interview on ESPN television's "Outside the Lines."

Starr added he was unaware of what was happening but still accepted responsibility.

"We need to put this horrible situation behind us," he said.

One of the victims of sexual assault at Baylor, identified only as "Sarah," told the show she sent a letter to Starr about being raped. She finds it hard to believe that he did not know about other sexual assaults.

Baylor's board of regents accepted the resignation, the school said.

Last week, the central Texas university in Waco removed Starr as president and fired head football coach Art Briles after an independent report found administrators mishandled sexual abuse cases involving football players.

The investigation found actions by Baylor administrators directly discouraged students from reporting sexual assaults. In one case, the actions included retaliating against a complainant for reporting a sexual assault.

"We were horrified by what we learned from the investigation and again express our public acknowledgment and deepest apologies," the board said in a statement on Wednesday.

In March, a former student at Baylor brought a negligence lawsuit in federal court against the school, claiming it acted callously and indifferently after she was raped by a Baylor football player.

In a separate scandal, Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was sentenced last year to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a fellow student in 2013.

Starr became Baylor's president in 2010, promising to promote the school's "great tradition in the Christian world."

A former appeals court judge, Starr was appointed as a special counsel to investigate Clinton over a real estate investment and other matters. His probe widened to include Clinton's sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and led to Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Republicans could not muster the two-thirds majority in the Senate needed to remove Clinton from office.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)