As recently reported in the Providence Journal, a male Brown University student is accused of sexually assaulting a female Brown University student. Five (5) days after the alleged assault, the female student reported the alleged attack to the University. Several months later the Brown University Student Conduct Board found the male student "responsible" for sexual misconduct and he was suspended.
Approximately seven (7) months later, the female student reported the alleged assault to the Providence Police Department, and therein lies the paradox of reporting a college related sexual assault. Should the victim report the assault to the school, the local police department, or both? If the alleged assault is only investigated and adjudicated by the school will the alleged victim feel that justice has been done? If not, the delay in reporting and investigating the alleged assault could prevent the successful prosecution in a criminal court.
The other issue of paramount importance is what about the rights of the accused? The investigation by the school will not be conducted by professionally trained law enforcement. Also, the standard of proof to find the accused responsible for the alleged assault is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt as in a criminal case. Considering that just an allegation of sexual assault can stigmatize the accused and have an adverse effect on the accused's education, life and career does it make sense that the alleged assault is investigated and adjudicated by a College Board? In addition, shouldn't the accused have the assistance of counsel and the constitutional protections inherent in the criminal justice system?
There are three (3) separate crimes of sexual assault under Rhode Island law.
First degree sexual assault involves the sexual penetration of one person by another person through the use of force or coercion. The penalty for first degree sexual assault is ten (10) years to life in prison.
Second degree sexual assault is when one person engages in non-consensual sexual contact with another person. The penalty for second degree sexual assault is imprisonment for not less than three (3) years and not more than fifteen (15) years.
Third degree sexual assault is when a person over the age of eighteen (18) years engages in sexual penetration of another person over the age of fourteen (14) years and under the age of consent, sixteen (16) years. The penalty for third degree sexual asault is imprisonment for not more than five (5) years.
The Attorneys of the Law Offices of Robert H. Humphrey are well versed in this area of law. Attorney Humphrey and Attorney Petta have represented numerous college students who have been accused of sexual asasult and they have vast experience representing clients enrolled in all of the Rhode Island State Colleges and Universities. If you have been accused of sexual assault, please allow the reputation, experience and skill of the Law Offices of Robert H. Humphrey to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION at (401) 816-5862 or at RHH@RHUMPHREYLAW.COM.