The Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton has been sanctioned by a federal judge in Texas for knowingly violating a court order and ignoring a subpoena to produce documents relevant to lawsuits by 15 women against Baylor University regarding alleged sexual assault and other misconduct at the Baptist school.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ruled on Friday that Pepper Hamilton must pay some of the fees and expenses incurred by the women’s attorneys.
At a hearing earlier in the week, the judge warned the firm against “ill-advised” decisions to ignore his orders to turn over documents.
Officials with Pepper Hamilton did not respond to emails or phone calls for comment Saturday.
Baylor hired Pepper Hamilton in 2015 to review how the university responded to allegations of sexual assault and violations of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits education institutions or other programs that get federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex.
The firm later reported a “fundamental failure” by Baylor in how it responded to those allegations, which included members of the school football team.
Kenneth Starr lost his post as president of the university in Waco, Texas, and resigned as its chancellor in 2016 after an investigation into his mishandling of several sexual-assault complaints. Shortly after, Starr also resigned as a tenured professor at the Baylor Law School.
Starr, who had served as a federal judge and U.S. solicitor general, was best known for his tenure as independent counsel during the administration of President Bill Clinton. Initially, Starr led an investigation into the suicide of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster and the Clintons’ Whitewater real estate investments.
Starr’s inquiry was expanded to allegations that Clinton lied about sexual involvement with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate and completed his term.