Texas court declines to indict Baylor football players on sexual assault charges

Baylor takes the field in McLane Stadium against West Virginia in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)
Baylor takes the field in McLane Stadium against West Virginia in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

A grand jury opted not to file charges Wednesday against two Baylor football players who were accused of sexual assault last year.

In a statement, McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said there was not enough evidence to indict John Arthur and Tre’von Lewis, two players who were freshmen for the Bears in 2017.

“Today the cases of John Arthur and Tre’von Lewis were presented to the grand jury. The grand jury reviewed information from Baylor Title IX Investigations, police reports witness statements, and victim interviews,” Reyna’s statement read, via KWTX. “After carefully considering the evidence, the grand jury determined that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. We commend the grand jury members for their diligent work and we agree with and respect their decision.”

Allegations against two Baylor players surfaced in February

Back in February, it was reported that two unnamed Baylor players were being investigated for an alleged sexual assault said to have taken place in November 2017. The incident was reported to the university’s Title IX offices, and an investigation was opened.

From ESPN.com:

On Nov. 17, 2017, two female Baylor students told police that they were sexually assaulted at University Parks Apartments in Waco, Texas, during the early-morning hours of Nov. 12, according to a Baylor police report. The report listed four suspects, whose names — along with the names of the female victims, who were members of Baylor’s equestrian team — were blacked out.

The case was submitted to the McLennan County district attorney’s office, and as a result of further investigation, cases against only Arthur and Lewis were presented to the grand jury for review, according to sources close to the investigation.

In March, Baylor coach Matt Rhule announced that Arthur and Lewis were suspended, but did not specify if it was related to the Title IX investigation. He did say, however, that the players were still enrolled but not involved with the football team at that time.

Baylor told both KWTX and ESPN on Wednesday that “their status remains unchanged.”

Neither players saw the field in 2017

Both players joined the Baylor team in the class of 2017 but took redshirts last fall. Lewis is a 6-foot, 185-pound safety from Houston who was Rhule’s first commitment after taking the head-coaching job. Arthur, a native of Frisco, Texas, also plays safety and is listed at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds. Neither participated in spring practice.

Baylor has a significant history of sexual assaults in the football program

The school hired law firm Pepper Hamilton to investigate its handling of many sexual assault accusations at the school. The investigation found “specific failings within both the football program and athletic department leadership” and said there were “significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor’s football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student-athlete misconduct.” The investigation led to the firing of head coach Art Briles, the resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw and the removal of president Ken Starr.

One former Baylor player, Sam Ukwuachu, had his rape conviction upheld in an appeals court on Wednesday.

After Briles was fired, Jim Grobe served as the Bears’ interim head coach in 2016 before Rhule was hired from Temple ahead of the 2017 season. BU went 1-11 in Rhule’s first season.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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