Anyone accused of violating the law has the right to the presumption of innocence in the legal system, as well as the right to due process before facing penalties. Unfortunately, these rights are not being respected when it comes to college students who are accused of sex crimes.
When allegations are made, colleges often take internal disciplinary action that is separate from criminal cases. In many situations, even when no criminal charges end up being filed, the college will still initiate disciplinary proceedings.
The consequences, which can include expulsion, suspension and a black mark on a permanent record, can change the life of the accused. Anyone who has been accused of sexual assault, rape or other offenses should consult with Albany sex crime lawyers for help as soon as possible in addressing all of the legal issues the accusations create.
Colleges are Not Respecting the Due Process Rights of Defendants in Sex Crimes Cases
Insider Higher Ed reported on the issues that are arising regarding the way colleges are handling accusations of sex crimes. Students who have been accused and have faced disciplinary action have increasingly begun suing their schools for violating their rights — and they have been winning.
One of the most recent cases was a lawsuit brought by a student who was suspended from school for his alleged sexual assault of a woman during group sex. The encounter had reportedly begun as consensual, but the woman involved told the school that it had turned violent. The college took action, asserting that the male student had violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy because he left her alone with other men in the encounter and he failed to stop the other men from slapping her.
The male student accused of wrongdoing wasn’t provided any information about the charges he was facing. He was not allowed to appear before the disciplinary panel that was deciding his fate, and he was not permitted to examine evidence being used against him. A state court of appeals found the school’s handling of the incident inappropriate, ruling against the school because the young man had been denied due process.
Over the course of the past year, this student was at least the 10th student accused of sexual assault who took legal action against his school and won. Students have been increasingly winning cases because schools have gone so far in trying to prevent campus sexual assault that they have eliminated basic procedural protections for accused students.
The federal government has been pressuring schools to crack down on sexual assault or risk losing funding, and there is intense public pressure on schools to try to fight what is being described as a “rape culture” on campus. However, none of this justifies schools trampling on the rights of the accused, as many have begun to do.
An accusation of assault made to a college or to police can have profound and life-changing consequences. Acting quickly to get legal help from skilled sex crimes attorneys is essential to make sure your rights are protected, to ensure you get the benefit of due process, and to ensure you respond strategically to try to minimize or avoid all possible consequences associated with serious accusations. Contact The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC today to learn how we can help.