Sexual assault and abuse has been all over the news recently, and many victims have publically leveled accusations, not only at their alleged abusers, but at their colleges and universities for dropping the ball in investigations and follow-through for reported incidents. Notably, the Ray Rice scandal, "Carry That Weight" protests and other student-led movements have brought national attention to the ways in which national organizations like the NFL and administrations at state and private colleges handle rape allegations.
With all this recent attention, criminal defense lawyers report there has been a lot of pressure placed on colleges and universities to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law, no matter what the charge or infraction. Being charged with any type of sexual assault, indecency, or misconduct can be terrifying, especially at the college level.
What is a Sex Crime?
The phrase "sex crimes" covers a wide variety of crimes, including the following:
- Making, viewing, or distributing child pornography
- Public indecency
- Rape, date rape, or statutory rape
- Sex Trafficking
- Sexting or sharing of explicit images
The penalties for these crimes can vary, based on what type of offense was committed, the prior criminal record (if any) of the accused and the jurisdiction where the alleged crime was committed. Convicted offenders could face extended jail time, fines, expulsion or probation.
Being convicted with a sexual assault charge of any kind-from urinating in the streets on a drunken stumble home from the bar or streaking across campus as part of a college prank, to date rape or assault-can have lifelong consequences. Even if the crime is a youthful indiscretion like public indecency or sexting, these types of offenses are covered with the same stringent rules as other sex crimes, and carry serious penalties. Individuals convicted of those crimes may find themselves having to register as sex offenders for a long period of time, or even the rest of their lives. Registering as a sex offender can affect where you are allowed to live and work, with whom you are allowed to associate, and could negatively impact your chances of getting a job or starting a family in the future.
What Should You Do?
The immediate pressure on colleges to act may lead to rushed investigations, and State College criminal defense lawyers want to remind people of their rights during an ongoing investigation. You have the right to an attorney, which you should exercise immediately if you have been charged with any type of sexual abuse, assault or violence. You also have the right to refuse to answer questions without your attorney present.
At Rehmeyer & Allat Attorneys at Law, our criminal defense team works to keep college students and young adults from paying for the mistakes they make now throughout their lives, as well as from the far-reaching consequences of the increased scrutiny into sex crimes at this level. To discuss your case, and begin working on your defense, contact one of our attorneys today.