The majority of claims of sexual assault on campus are presented by women, with most of the accused male students. Therefore, it’s often the case that men must deal with this issue and appropriately respond to it should they be accused of sexual assault.
In case you get accused of a sexual assault on or near campus, here are the 5 steps to take.
Hire a Lawyer for Protection
Campus sexual misconduct is covered under Title IX law. It’s best to deal with an attorney who has experience with such cases and doesn’t just take them occasionally. They’ll be most familiar with the relevant legal positions and the recent outcome of cases.
Colleges may advise the accused student that they can provide a law student to act on their behalf and give them the choice of whether to have a lawyer represent them. The matter should be handled by a professional to protect your interests because despite what they may say, the college is not on your side. Assistance and sympathy will go to the alleged victim regardless of the merit of their case.
Obtain as Much Information as Possible
The college needs to provide details about the accusation. You have a right to know what you are being accused of, so you can appreciate the details and severity of the accusation and prepare a defense.
Schools and colleges should have public guidelines including how they investigate, what the disciplinary processes are, and what else to expect. These guidelines will apply to staff, faculty, and students alike. Seek out these guideline documents because they will help understand what is to come.
Take Stock of the Evidence
Whilst your accuser will supply evidence that they expect to support their claim, you may have some of your own that will refute it.
For instance, the accuser may claim that she didn’t know you well and you “only met a couple of times.” The objective may be to distance themselves from the situation and make it seem to appear more shocking.
However, you may have records of phone calls, chat or SMS messages, and other communication that goes back many weeks or months and refutes the suggestion that you’re just a recent acquaintance. The communication may also indicate that you had a sexually flirtatious dialog or demonstrate how interested you both were in spending time or being intimate together.
Use a Private Detective
Additionally, it’s useful to see what else can be found out on your behalf. To do this, hiring a private detective can be beneficial.
For instance, maybe a history of previous sexual assault claims by the accuser can be brought to light. If these have been thrown out for lack of evidence, then it paints a picture of questionable complaints being raised. When a clear pattern is shown it can help make their latest claim less believable and rightfully deserving of greater scrutiny.
While a sexual assault claim on campus is worrisome, panicking won’t help you. Confronting your accuser may only lead to other complaints and make your legal position worse.
Leave it to an attorney to advise you how to best protect yourself and to mount an effective defense. Avoid going it alone because everyone else will be against you and even many of your friends likely will abandon you as the word spreads.
When accused of sexual misconduct on campus, it can wreck your college year and could cause you to lose your chance of a good education. Take it seriously from the start and get proper representation to avoid losing the case when you have done nothing wrong.