The State of Texas: Art Briles Sues Baylor Officials For Libel
Plus: Texas’s fetal burial rules could be heading toward a legal battle, a new database attempts to identify people who died trying to cross the border, and Texans need to chill about the ”cold” weather.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Are you cold? Take one. Do you want to help? Leave one.”
—A sign above a coat rack outside The Taco Stop in Dallas, according to WFAA. The taco joint’s benevolent owner is offering carnitas with side of charitable goodness to help people in need this winter, and so far their idea has been a success: the rack is loaded with coats, hats and scarves, and community members continue to both donate goods and take what they need.
Former Baylor football coach Art Briles filed a lawsuit on Thursday alleging libel, slander, and conspiracy against four university officials, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. The main allegations in the suit stem from a Wall Street Journal article in October, when Baylor regents told the newspaper that Briles was aware of at least one case of sexual violence allegedly committed by one of his players, but failed to report it to the police or the proper university agencies. In the lawsuit, Briles claims the regent’s statements that he had knowledge of this incident are false and were made up by a public relations firm hired by Baylor. Briles also claims in the lawsuit that the comments made about him by the four university officials have kept him from getting another coaching gig. Briles was fired in May after an independent law firm released a report into Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, finding fundamental failures in the way the university handled sexual assault cases, particularly those involving Briles’s players. So far, Briles has named Chairman Ron Murff, Regents J. Cary Gray and David Harper and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Reagan Ramsower as defendants, but more could be added to the list in the lawsuit, which was filed in Llano County. Briles is seeking more than $1 million in damages, according to the Dallas Morning News.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
A pair of women’s health groups are putting their collective heads together to figure out a way to potentially stop Texas’s new rules requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains, which are set to go into place later this month. According to the Dallas Morning News, Whole Woman’s Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights are working on a possible lawsuit to block the law. If there is a potential lawsuit in the cards it’d have to be filed pretty fast, because the rule goes into effect on December 19. This isn’t the first time the fetal burial mandate has faced the potential of a legal challenge. Earlier this week, the Satanic Temple said in a statement on its website that it would sue Texas if the state required temple-goers to comply with the rule, claiming it would violate their rights by forcing them to go against their religious beliefs.
Say My Name
The Texas Observer unveiled a pretty cool and important project called “I Have a Name/Yo Tengo Nombre,” which aims to identify those who have died trying to cross the border. According to the Observer, the remains of many of these dead migrants have been badly mishandled by law enforcement agencies, which sometimes just tossed the remains in black trash bags and then into mass graves, so “hundreds of people—someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, child—are sitting in cold storage anonymously.” The “I Have a Name” project is basically a bilingual online database of personal items found alongside these deceased migrants, giving families the chance to search through the photos of 80 unidentified cases to find items that may belong to their missing loved ones. Among these items: a tattered American Eagle t-shirt, a laminated prayer card, and a pair of pink shoes. The photographs alone make for a visceral emotional impact.
It’s Winter, Y’all
There’s a cold snap crossing the country, and much of Texas is set to experience below-average temperatures starting Friday. That means temperatures could drop into the forties (brr!) and stay there until Sunday. Dallas, Houston, Austin, and even South Texas will all fall victim to Old Man Winter’s cold touch in the next few days. The below-average temperatures could cause some very real problems for homeless people and drivers—shelters across the state are preparing for an expected increase in people looking for warm beds, while roads could freeze over and become dangerously slick—but at the same time, the vast majority of us will make it through the cold snap just fine. Still, that hasn’t seemed to stop Texans from freaking out on social media, according to the Houston Chronicle. It really won’t be that cold, guys. Just toss on an extra layer of clothing, load up on warm beverages (here’s hint from a cold-climate native: alcohol works great, too!), and chill out.
WHAT WE’RE READING
The feds are trying to figure out what caused July’s deadly hot air balloon crash in Lockhart KXAN
Judge Reinhold had a very bad day at Love Field Airport and ended up in handcuffs WFAA
UT running back D’Onta Foreman won the Doak Walker award Austin American-Statesman
A for-profit psychiatric hospital chain with sites in Texas is raking in profits at the expense of patients BuzzFeed
Governor Abbott may soon be getting a bunch of bloody tampons in the mail Daily Dot