The U.S. Department of Education decided it was time to take a further look into the treatment of sexual assault cases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This request was made by past and present students of the university and former administrators, who claim UNC has a reputation of sweeping sex assault claims under the rug.
The investigation was sparked by a discrimination complaint made by several women who said the school mishandled sexual assault cases on campus. The allegations brought about outrage on the university’s campus and national level. In an additional complaint filed with the Education Department, the women said the school also violated federal laws that mandate universities to fully reveal crimes on campus.
Many times, when accusations are brought to the forefront of a college campus’ attention, school administrators will pursue an internal investigation before contacting police. An internal investigation many times is purported to help to protect victim and accused, but is many times for the protection of school athletics programs.
Other times, law enforcement officers can rush the investigation. The high-profile nature of the accusations also contributes to a less than objective investigation. Law enforcement officers often believe the alleged victim even as the physical evidence begins to pile up that contradicts those accusations.
When people think of rape they immediately think of an encounter with a stranger. However, the crime of sexual battery is most often alleged between two people who know each other such as acquaintances, friends, co-workers, classmates, relatives, neighbors, dating partners. or even married couples. Often these cases hinge on whether a female “consented” to sexual intercourse after drinking alcohol or using drugs.
Under Fla. Stat. § 794.011, one may be properly convicted of rape in Florida if one commits a sexual battery. Sexual battery is defined as any non-consensual oral, anal or vaginal penetration by the sexual organ of another person or any other object that is not for a medical purpose. This charge can be a first degree felony, life felony or capital felony, depending on the age of the victim, whether a weapon was used during the commission of the offense, and whether the victim had any disabilities.
Many times, colleges will let in under age students, who will eventually mix with the general populous of adult students. This exposure is often too much to control, leading to unlawful sexual activity with a minor (Statutory Rape) charges. Many students may be charged with this offense if they are at least 24 years old and engage in sexual activity, or oral, anal or vaginal penetration, or union with the sexual organ of another, who is 16 or 17 years old. This offense is punishable as a second degree felony, exposing one to a long prison sentence and excessive fines and restitution costs.
One in a situation such as this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville sex crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights, defenses, and options are known and protected. One cannot fight this battle alone. With the help of an experienced attorney, one can be sure that this mistake will be whited out of one’s life and become a thing of the past.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Sources: College sexual crime reports need overhaul, Joni Fletcher, Central Florida Future