Sexual misconduct includes a wide variety of offenses such as sexual abuse, sexual assault, and unwanted touching. Each school has its own code of conduct that may or may not prohibit something that they call sexual misconduct, which is likely defined completely differently than the District of Columbia Code. The definition comes with a much broader range of sexual conduct than DC statutes. It is important to understand that what may be deemed to be a violation of a student code of conduct is not a violation of DC law.
A sexual misconduct allegation on campus can lead to a suspension, expulsion, and/or criminal charges. If you are facing allegations, consult with a DC student sexual misconduct lawyer today. A dedicated student defense attorney could advocate for you.
The Me Too movement increased the number of sexual misconduct allegations and prosecutions on campuses. Unfortunately, the protections for those accused of sexual misconduct on campus have not increased or been made broader to keep up with this trend. It is a potentially dangerous time on campuses because when someone is accused of sexual misconduct on campus, their rights and protections are almost non-existent.
Most sexual misconduct allegations on campuses involve people who were using drugs or alcohol. That complicates the ability to determine the credibility of the individuals making the allegations because, in most situations, the person was intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. When someone is under the influence, their perception or memory may be skewed. As a result, their credibility is often suspect.
When an attorney advises students who are accused of sexual misconduct on campus, they tell the student to remain silent to protect them from potentially being prosecuted under DC criminal law. Also, because the process is potentially used against them, it becomes difficult for the student who is accused to make statements in defense of themselves.
The most common allegation is that one student raped another student. The usual allegation is that the students were drinking or using drugs and engaged in consensual sexual conduct. One student did something the other student did not consent to that is sexual assault and that is what they allege. The typical case is not a stranger attack. It is people who know each other who engaged in consensual sex. The allegation goes too far because permission was not given for an additional sexual act.
A student should contact a DC student sexual misconduct attorney if they have an inkling that an allegation is going to be made. The student might receive an accusatory text message. They should not respond to the text message and should not apologize. Before the student does anything, they should call an attorney. The student should refrain from talking about the allegations with others. Instead, they should consult with a lawyer.
An attorney representing a student accused of sexual misconduct can help immeasurably. First, the lawyer could help by making sure the student does not contact the individual making the accusation. They ensure that the student does not submit to any interview or investigation by university police or law enforcement. The attorney works with the student in the adjudicatory process to make sure they do not make statements that may hurt them later.
When a student is going to participate in the adjudicatory process, they are entitled to ask questions of the person making the accusation. The key is to make sure the questions do not constitute statements on the part of the student. A lawyer could help the student craft the questions to make sure they are not deemed to be statements.
A DC student sexual misconduct lawyer helps the student present a defense through a student statement or by testimony when it makes sense. That has to be done very carefully because of the possibility of being charged criminally and those statements could be used against the student in a court of law.
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