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Dad of Slain Athlete Plans to Sue Baylor

August 22, 2003

DALLAS (AP) _ The father of a slain Baylor basketball player plans to sue the university, saying officials conspired to cover up information about his son’s death and concealed illegal activities in the athletic department, his lawyers said.

Patrick Dennehy was found dead in a field July 25. He had been shot twice in the head. Former teammate and roommate Carlton Dotson is charged in his murder.

The lawsuit, expected to be filed Friday in Harris County District Court, seeks at least $50,000 in damages. It also accuses officials of creating an ``unsafe atmosphere″ in the department, The Dallas Morning News reported in its online edition Thursday night, citing a draft of the lawsuit being filed by Patrick Dennehy Sr.

Baylor officials ignored threats Dennehy told them about and their ``acts and omissions″ contributed to his death, according to the draft.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Houston-based attorneys Daniel Cartwright and Richard Laminack were unsuccessful Thursday night.

The lawsuit also names Baylor’s former basketball coach, Dave Bliss, the board of regents, school president Robert Sloan, Jr., and former athletic director Tom Stanton.

Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley said the school would not comment until university attorneys reviewed the lawsuit.

Dennehy’s disappearance in mid-June and the naming of Dotson as a ``person of interest″ in the case prompted intense scrutiny of Baylor and its basketball program.

Bliss and Stanton resigned Aug. 8. School investigators said they discovered that Bliss was involved in two players receiving improper financial aid, and that staff members did not properly report failed drug tests.

The school launched an internal inquiry in July into possible NCAA violations. The school then placed itself on a two-year probation and won’t participate in any postseason tournaments next season.

Last week secretly taped conversations were released in which Bliss was heard trying to get players and assistant coaches to go along with a plot to say Dennehy was a drug dealer.

Cartwright told the Morning News the lawsuit would be filed in Houston because they wanted a ``fair forum″ away from the influence of Baylor in Waco.

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