When You’re Accused of Rape as a College Student
Innocent until proven guilty. Words that mean so much to you in your present situation. When you’re accused of rape as a college student, it’s not just jail time that poses a threat. It’s your entire future.
The statistics about sexual assault charges frighten you. One resource on campus safety claims that a tiny percentage of accusations reported to police turn out to be fake. The odds surely don’t sound in your favor.
All things considered, you absolutely need an experienced criminal defense attorney through every step of the process. Sexual misconduct charges of any kind represent a serious offense. However, once again, it’s not just about what happens in the police station.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that you could be arrested on campus or even after law enforcement authorities initiate their investigation. No doubt both start the ball rolling as far as your impending legal issues. However, you face other problems.
As a college student, you’ll find yourself subject to the school’s internal guidelines. Locally, the University of Scranton’s Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy spells out the procedures for handling cases that include, among other things, sexual violence.
Here’s what you might not know. Law enforcement agencies may decline to prosecute you for lack of evidence or credibility issues. A jury could find you not guilty. That said, the college or university you attend could still decide you are in violation of their policies.
College Students and University Policies
Truth be told, the standard of proof for university policy infractions differs vastly from criminal complaints. Many college guidelines specifically address the fact that they do not base their determinations on what happens at the police station or in court.
Issues regarding sexual harassment and sexual misconduct suggest Title IX violations. Essentially, the law frowns on discrimination in education based on sex. Therefore, colleges and universities face their own legal obligations.
It’s not enough for law enforcement to investigate the alleged sex crime. The school also conducts its own proceedings as part of a Title IX inquiry. In most cases, this starts by interviewing your accuser. Hopefully, you’ll also have the ability to provide your version of the events.
Campus rape charges are obviously serious. And, the fact that the school handles accusations differently matters to your education. In some cases, you face suspension for a period of time. In others, you risk expulsion. Your academic record receives notations.
If you are asked to leave the school, you have the opportunity to appeal. Meanwhile, you may have concerns that your civil rights were violated. According to news reports, the University of Pennsylvania settled with a student accused of rape. He planned to sue the school based on discrimination.
If you’re a college student facing rape charges, you need experienced legal representation. Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam has worked on both sides of the criminal justice system. Let our decades of experience help you. Contact us to schedule an appointment.