Campus Sexual Assault Policies Examined in California

News stories in recent years have shed light on the inadequacy of campus rape policies throughout the country. In the first week of June, California lawmakers are sending a message that things need to change by backing a bill that would impose new penalties and change the way campuses are required to report on-campus assault incidents. By backing this legislation, California is sending a clear message that sex crimes on campus will not be tolerated in our state.

California Campus Rape Policies

According to Time, California is already the most “aggressive” state regarding its treatment of sexual assault offenders. However, California, along with many other states, has had difficulty in determining whether it should be the schools or criminal justice system (or both) that holds assailants responsible.

Although few people would argue against holding proven sexual assailants accountable for their actions, there is concern that these types of laws confuse the disciplinary limits of a college administration with the punishments imposed by the criminal justice system. Many advocate that these incidents should be dealt with outside of campus and through the criminal justice system, while others maintain that schools need to be held accountable for what is happening on their watch.

Regardless of what your opinion is on where the punishment should come from, there is no question that even rape allegations can destroy not just the victim’s life, but the alleged assailant. With unfortunate stories of alleged victims making up events and crafting false accusations, it can be difficult for a school board to act as a court of law in distributing punishment. False claims undermine the severity of the underlying accusations and can make it difficult for those who are actually victims of sexual assault to be taken seriously.

Regardless of the underlying difficulties in determining the truth, falsity, and circumstances surrounding sexual assault claims, California lawmakers seek to up the punishments on campus. The legislation would include the following:

  • Mandatory two year minimum suspensions for students found responsible for rape by colleges
  • Reform of college sexual assault policies
  • Reform of college reporting of rape data

There already is a “yes means yes” law in California, defining the “affirmative consent standard” throughout colleges in the state. The new laws expand the responsibilities of college administrative boards and would allow them to hand down punishments in addition to those imposed by the criminal justice system.

California Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys

Even just being accused of a sex-related crime in California can destroy both your personal and professional life. If you are a college student, the punishments you face may come from more than the criminal justice system and may be detrimental to your education, as well. Any allegation of rape should be taken very seriously and you should consult with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney as soon as you think you may be accused of misconduct. Often, lawmakers will let you know that you are the subject of a sexual crime investigation; this is a sure indication that it is time to talk to an attorney. Alex Ozols is an experienced San Diego based criminal defense attorney that knows how to navigate the criminal justice system to ensure every avenue is explored to protect your rights. Contact the Ozlos Law Firm to receive comprehensive, non-judgmental and thorough representation for any allegations of sexual misconduct.