Baylor University paid ex-football coach $15 million after sex scandal

March 31 (Reuters) - Baylor University in Texas paid more than $15.1 million to its former head football coach Art Briles after firing him in 2016 for failing to address students' complaints of rape and sexual assault by football players, new tax filings show.

A spokeswoman for Baylor, a private Baptist university in Waco, said the money was severance pay, made as part of a legal settlement, and came from institutional reserves.

Kenneth Starr, who was forced to step down as the university's president and chancellor in the wake of the scandal, received more than $4.5 million in severance pay, the school said. Starr rose to prominence in the 1990s for his investigation of Bill Clinton's sex scandals while Clinton was U.S. president.

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Baylor regents say Art Briles failed to report sex assault allegations
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Baylor regents say Art Briles failed to report sex assault allegations
Baylor University head coach Art Briles reacts against the University of Oklahoma in the first half of their NCAA Big 12 football game at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas, United States on November 19, 2011.

(REUTERS/Mike Stone/File Photo)

Dec 29, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Baylor Bears senior Jay Lee (left) dunks Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles with Gatorade following the Russell Athletic Bowl college football game at Florida Citrus Bowl. Baylor won 49-38.  

(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 5: Head coach Art Briles talks to his players from the sideline against the Texas Longhorns at McLane Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Waco, Texas.

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

MANHATTAN, KS - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears looks on prior to a game against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 5, 2015 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 5: Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears looks on from the sidelines against the Texas Longhorns at McLane Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Waco, Texas.

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26: Coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears looks on during a game against the Texas Tech Raiders at Cowboys Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Baylor Bears defeated the Texas Tech Raiders 66-42.

(Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 19: Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears looks on during warmups before kickoff against the Iowa State Cyclones on October 19, 2013 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

06 December 2014: Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles accepts the trophy from Big 12 Commissioner Bill Bowlsby for the Big 12 Co-Champion after the game between the Baylor Bears and the Kansas State Wildcats at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. Baylor beat Kansas State 38-27.

(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Head Coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears chats to players prior to kickoff against the Buffalo Bulls at UB Stadium on September 12, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

15 OCT 2016: Endzone pylon during the game between the Baylor Bears and the Kansas Jayhawks at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. Baylor beats Kansas 49-7. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Starr said in 2016 he was not aware of the assault allegations but accepted responsibility. Both Briles and Baylor have said there were "serious shortcomings" in how they responded to the complaints of assault.

The payments, which were first reported by the Dallas Morning News, appear in the university's 990 form, a disclosure document the university must file annually with the Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit organization.

Last year, Baylor reached a settlement with a former student who had sued, saying she was a victim of gang rape by football players, and that the school overlooked a violent culture in order to keep good players on its team.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the school's response to students' complaints of sexual assault by football players.

In a statement, Baylor said the payments to the staff it removed were legal settlements, and that it had improved its procedures for reporting sexual assault, among other measures.

"Baylor remains steadfast in our unwavering commitment to care for our students and respond appropriately to incidents of sexual violence," the school's statement said. (Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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