University campuses can seem like their own special environments. And to some extent, that depiction is pretty accurate. They’re like microcosms of society where students learn more about themselves and the world at large, and many even have their own private police forces and rules for handling certain criminal complaints. While this can help make students feel safer in some cases, in others, it can be detrimental and even dangerous when it comes to protecting a student’s rights.
To help you better understand university sex crimes, here are some frequently asked questions on the subject and their answers.
What Constitutes a Campus Sex Crime?
A sex crime such as rape or sexual battery that involves two or more students is considered a campus sex crime. These crimes generally occur on campus and may be handled by a university police force and an internal disciplinary system. In some cases, the crime may occur off campus but be reported to and investigated by campus police.
Common Campus Sex Crimes
Lewd & Lascivious Behavior
Whether it’s peeing on the side of a building after drinking too much at a frat party, streaking through the commons, or mooning passersby, lewd and lascivious behavior almost seems par for the course in college. These activities, however, are now seen as more problematic than they once were, and current college students are paying the price. Making a poor choice can land an undergrad in a heap of trouble, even if they aren’t aware that it’s a crime.
Covered in Section 784.046 of the Florida Statutes, dating violence is defined as occurring between two romantically involved parties or two parties who had previously been romantically or intimately involved. Dating violence includes the making of threats or stalking, unwanted touching or forced sexual interactions, and physical violence such as hitting, pushing, choking, etc.
Sexual battery is more commonly known as rape. It can be a part of dating violence, though it is its own separate crime.
Sexual battery includes nonconsensual intercourse and is defined as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object” (FL statute 794.011).
Both of these types of charges can have lifelong consequences for those accused of them. In addition to being kicked out of school, the accused may receive a prison sentence depending on the severity of the allegations.
What if Both Parties Are Drunk?
Consent requires positive affirmation of a desire to engage in sexual activity and can be retracted at any time. However, if the supposed consenting party is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their ability to consent may be called into question. But what happens if two people meet at a party and they’re both drunk? If one party claims rape the next day, can the other person be held responsible even though they were under the influence too?
With the current client, it is almost certain that the alleged aggravating party would be held responsible for their actions despite their inebriation. While an alleged victim is believed to be unable to consent when drunk, an alleged instigator is not given the same benefit.
What is the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act?
The CSCPA, which became law on October 28th, 2000, requires that sex offenders who want to enroll at a college or university provide notice. In addition, the CSCPA sets forth reporting guidelines for institutions of higher learning. To be in compliance, colleges and universities must share their crime statistics with the public, as well as information regarding sex offender enrollment.
If you are found guilty of a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender or sex predator, you will need to inform any school you choose to enroll at in order to be in compliance with the law. This can be burdensome and make it harder for individuals who have made a past mistake to work towards a better future. The goal is to protect currently enrolled individuals; however, it adversely impacts those who have already paid their debt to society.
Who Handles Campus Sex Crimes?
Many universities have their own private police forces and processes for dealing with alleged crimes. Others rely on local law enforcement. While universities are being called to report more campus crime to local authorities, there’s still a disconnect between who handles what and under what circumstances. This means that while some accused individuals must go through internal disciplinary hearings, others must manage within the traditional judicial system.
Regardless of where a case is being “tried,” it is critical that any accused party have legal representation. This helps ensure the process maintains its fairness and that the accused is able to adequately defend themselves.
Ultimately, there is a lot of pressure on colleges to handle sex crimes expeditiously, and this can be detrimental to the accused. There’s a prioritization of the rights of the victim, and often, vilification of the accused. This can lead to the rights of the accused being tossed out of the window. Don’t let this happen to you!
What Should I Do if I’m Charged with a Campus Sex Crime?
If you are under investigation for a campus sex crime or if you have been charged with a campus sex crime, it is crucial that you seek legal representation. These types of allegations are exceedingly serious and can have far-reaching, life-long consequences. They can make it difficult to finish your degree or seek financial aid, can impact your job prospects in the future, and can otherwise derail the course of your life.
How a Campus Sex Crimes Attorney Can Help You
Don’t let an allegation throw your life off track.
If you’ve been charged with a campus sex crime, make sure your rights are protected. Even if you must go through a university trial or arbitration program, it’s crucial that you seek legal advice. Don’t let others make an example of you—call Mike G today and protect your future.