The Grand Inquisitor for Bill Clinton’s Sinning is Mired in a Sexual Abuse Scandal
by Libby Shaw –
I am writing this blog post because the host of NPR’s Texas Standard is curious as to why the reprehensible scandal at Baylor University is slipping from the news cycle.
Why? The host of Texas Standard believes it is because Baylor wins.
When I first moved to Texas, years ago, a friend told me to be prepared. For churches and football loom Texas oversized large here. If this is so, and it is, in certain parts of the state, I guess when there is a monumental disgrace that involves a religious institution and football but also includes, God forbid, criminal acts such as rape, sexual assault, along with a hot dash of denial to boot, everyone wants the infamy to go away as quickly as possible. No! It can’t be! Not here! We are a Christian school! We have an honor code! Students don’t drink and they certainly do not have sex. Those sinful acts take place everywhere else but here.
The Board of Regents of Baylor University, the nation’s largest Baptist university, recently demoted its President, Kenneth Starr and fired its very successful head football coach, the winning star Art Briles. Apparently the President and the Drop Dead Awesome Coach and others in the Administration had turned a blind eye to violent sexual assaults on Baylor’s campus. The unholy and savage incidences involved football players and their victims, some of whom were repeatedly raped.
For those who don’t know, Ken Starr holds the great distinction of having served as the former prosecutor in the 1990’s during Bill Clinton’s administration. The Republican Party had hired Starr, an evangelical Christian, as Independent Counsel, to serve as the GOP’s chief witch hunter of then President Clinton. The Republicans were convinced that both Bill and Hillary Clinton had committed criminal acts. And the GOP hired a hell fire and brimstone ideologue to send the Clintons straight to hell.
A true crusader for the far and ugly right, Ken Starr investigated White Water, an Arkansas land deal involving the President and First Lady. The outcome?
Six years and more than $50 million in taxpayer money later, an independent counsel has concluded there is “insufficient evidence” to charge President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton with any criminal wrongdoing in the Whitewater land deal in Arkansas.
But Mr. Starr was not finished with Bill Clinton. The devil has to be sent to his place in hell.
In 1995 Bill Clinton engaged in a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a young intern for the White House. A friend and confidante of Ms. Lewinsky, Linda Tripp had leaked the affair to Ken Starr. He immediately began an extensive, ongoing investigation that ultimately led to President Clinton’s impeachment.
I am not making excuses for Bill Clinton’s reckless and irresponsible behavior.
That said, the right’s appalling and disingenuous hypocrisy deserves a brightly laser focused microscope because it didn’t get it in the 1990’s. As in the case of W. and his non-existent WMDs in Iraq, the media colluded with the Starr investigations.
Long story short, the Independent Counsel’s final report had been dubbed Kenneth Starr’s $70 Million Bag of Garbage.
The independent counsel’s pathetic final report reveals what a travesty the right wing’s get-Clinton crusade was.
In his Christian driven zeal to tar and feather President Clinton, Mr. Starr engaged in the usual right wing slime tactics. Get as close to the line of lawbreaking as possible while not getting caught crossing over to the dark side.
Even less convincing, however, is his brazen attempt to acquit Starr’s office of one of the most damaging charges against it: that the OIC had illegally leaked secret grand jury testimony to the press, a violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e). Now, plenty of published accounts have found that the OIC did leak secret grand jury testimony. Then there’s the uncomfortable fact that countless articles were written in which leaks appeared, attributed to unnamed sources in the Office of Independent Counsel.
Starr had in fact committed illegal acts and engaged in unethical tactics, like any right winger would do in an evangelical crusade to assassinate the character of a sitting but perceived and demonized sinning President.
Now let’s take a look at what the sanctimonious and the holiest of thous, Mr. Starr enabled on his watch as President of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
During the first rape, Tanya was shoved into the muddy ground before her pants were pulled down. After it was over, the Baylor football player allowed her to get up and walk away, but then he pushed her, face forward, into a metal fence and raped her again.
He disappeared after handing Tanya her shirt back. Dazed, Tanya made her way back into the party, found her friends, and told one of them, “I think I was just raped.”
Once at the hospital, in Waco, Texas, Tanya recounted for Waco police and a nurse what had happened: A Baylor University football player named Tevin Elliott had raped her. The defensive end would end up arrested by Waco police, charged with sexually assaulting Tanya, kicked off the football team and expelled.
When Tanya later visited the campus police in order to ask for help, requesting an escort as her rapist remained in Waco, the department told her it could not help. For the assault took place off campus. The campus police washed its hands of Tanya.
Tanya later appealed to the student health center for help, perhaps a little counseling, maybe? The response:
There is no one who can see you now. You could, though, put your name on a waiting list. Maybe you should see someone off campus.
Tanya’s grades plummeted of course. Her mother had asked academic services if it could help her daughter.
Sorry. No resources are available. Even “if a plane falls on your daughter, there’s nothing we can do to help you.”
Tevin Elliott had raped five women between 2009-2012.
Tanya, a Baylor freshman at the time, was one of five women who reported to police that they were either raped or assaulted — in incidents from October 2009 to April 2012 — by Elliott, who was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in January 2014 for the incident involving Tanya.
On Ken Starr’s watch.
Despite being a private school, Baylor is required by federal law — Title IX — to thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual violence, and provide security, counseling services and academic help to those who report assaults. Part of the law’s goal is to help keep victims in school.
Yet an investigation by Outside the Lines found several examples in Tanya’s case, and others at Baylor, in which school officials either failed to investigate, or adequately investigate, allegations of sexual violence. In many cases, officials did not provide support to those who reported assaults. Moreover, it took Baylor more than three years to comply with a federal directive: In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to all colleges and universities outlining their responsibilities under Title IX, including the need for each school to have a Title IX coordinator. Baylor didn’t hire a full-time coordinator until fall 2014.
The victims insisted the head football coach and others knew about the sexual assaults. But Mr. Briles brushed them off, cowardly demeaning all as mere “he said she said” scenarios. His team, his reputation and winning meant everything to the head football coach. Little else mattered.
While Mr. Briles has been fired Ken Starr received a sheer demotion.
Mr. Starr was stripped of his title as university president but will remain Baylor’s chancellor and a professor at the law school. The chancellor position is “centered around development and religious liberty,” a regent said on a conference call Thursday afternoon, adding that Mr. Starr’s “operational responsibilities have been removed.”
Does religious liberty include the right to sweep sexual assaults under the rug, I wonder?
“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus,” Richard Willis, chairman of Baylor’s Board of Regents, said in a statement. “This investigation revealed the University’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students.”
The lady doth protest too much. It would be a more honest act to admit Baylor loves football more than it does the safety and well-being of its students. This is not uncommon among many of our country’s universities, unfortunately.
Critics have said that Baylor sacrificed moral considerations — and the safety of other students — for the sake of its winning football team. The investigation said as much, describing the flouting of federal gender-equity law and rebuking a university leadership that “created a cultural perception that football was above the rules.”
The unholy cover ups.
In one instance, according to a summary of the investigation released by the board, university administrators discouraged an accuser in a manner that “constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
What investigations did occur, the summary said, “were conducted in the context of a broader culture and belief by many administrators that sexual violence ‘doesn’t happen here.’”
Starr promoted the football team’s success as a tool to raise millions.
Mr. Starr, who was solicitor general and a federal judge before taking on the Clinton case, has been credited with raising hundreds of millions of dollars for Baylor, the country’s largest Baptist university, in part by yoking its fortunes to football. Much fund-raising was centered on building a gleaming on-campus home field, McLane Stadium, which opened in 2014, the same year that Mr. Starr added the title of chancellor to his role as president.
“Let me be clear,” Mr. Starr wrote in a public letter in February: “Sexual violence emphatically has no place whatsoever at Baylor University.”
Except that it had a prominent place under Starr’s watch. He looked the other way. And yet he still holds a rather remarkable position at Baylor University.
Money is everything even if it means ignoring student safety or engaging in a character assassination crusade of a sitting President because self-righteous Republicans deem him a sinner.
Little has changed in national or state politics since the 1990’s where right wing hypocrisy and dirty tricks are concerned. Maybe Donald Trump will tap Ken Starr to be his Karl Rove.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos