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Ken Starr Says He Will Resign as Baylor Chancellor

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Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera
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Ken Starr during a Texas Tribune symposium on higher education in Waco.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Days after he lost his job as Baylor University president over a scandal concerning the school's handling of allegations of sexual assault, Ken Starr said he has resigned as chancellor of the private Baptist school.

In an interview with ESPN published Wednesday, Starr said he will remain as a law professor at the university. The resignation will go into effect immediately, he said.

"We need to put this horrible experience behind us," Starr said in the interview. "We need to be honest."

A school spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Until last week, Starr held the job of president and chancellor. He was removed from his president post by the school's board of regents after an investigation commissioned by the school found that Baylor failed to sufficiently investigate allegations of sexual assault against students, and football players in particular. The school also didn't provide sufficient support to victims who reported those assaults, the report said.
The chancellor job is mostly a figurehead role, board members said last week. It doesn't have any operating responsibilities, and Starr would mostly focus on fundraising and "religious freedom" issues, they said. But the move still generated criticism from people who felt Starr shouldn't be allowed to remain in a prominent role.

Starr previously said that he didn't know about the numerous cases of sexual assault until last fall, when the investigation into their handling was commissioned. But in the interview with ESPN, he took some responsibility.

"The captain goes down with the ship," he said.

The resignation is another shoe to drop in the ongoing house cleaning among Baylor's most visible administrators. When the board released a report on its investigation last week, it announced Starr's demotion, the firing of football coach Art Briles and the suspension of Athletic Director Ian McCaw. Since then, McCaw has also resigned.

The report was highly critical of Baylor, saying some victims of sexual assault were intimidated or retaliated against for reporting the crimes. And in some cases, coaches or staff members of the football team met with victims, but didn't report the allegations to anyone else at the school.

"The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the university," the report said.

The report didn't, however, mention the names of any specific coaches, staff members or administrators who committed wrongdoing. That has prompted calls in the media and among victims advocates for greater transparency. Starr said that he also hasn't seen the full report and didn't get a chance to rebut any of its findings.

But he said Baylor "clearly fell short" in its response to allegations.

Starr also defended Briles, saying he "is a person of genuine character."

"Coach Briles is a player's coach, but he was also a very powerful father figure," he said to ESPN.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/06/01/ken-starr-says-he-will-resign-baylor-chancellor/.