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Sex crime complaints are common across many colleges and universities, however this does not necessarily mean they actually end up as criminal charges. In some cases there may be allegations of sexual offenses that start out administratively through the school and then in some cases result in criminal charges being filed.
As a result of the administrative process used at many college campuses and the prominence of sexual offense charges, it is important that if accused you consult with a Virginia student defense lawyer as soon as possible so they may begin building your defense and guiding you through not only the legal process but the administrative one as well. Read on to learn more about sex crime charges on college campuses.
There are a wide variety of sexual offenses that are alleged on college campuses, these include felony sexual assault, rape, forcible sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery. Each of these have very serious consequences associated with them including jail time. However, there are also lesser offenses such as sexual battery and unlawful filming.
In addition to these, two of the most common sex crime charges are:
Sexual misconduct or harassment is a general term used to describe things of a sexual nature that may or may not be actually criminal. There is nothing in the Virginia Criminal Code that says sexual harassment is a crime. However, if you look at the universities or colleges’ code of student conduct then you will frequently see harassment as a violation.
The common understanding of sexual harassment on a college campus is similar to sexual harassment at the workplace. It may not be a crime, but it is conduct that is prohibited by the employer and can result in termination or suspension.
Pornography is legal. Possession of legal pornography will not get you in trouble. What gets you in trouble is if the subject of the video or image is under 18, then that is child pornography, and possession, distribution, or manufacturing of child pornography is absolutely a very serious offense.
This comes into play for a freshman who happens to be 17 and may also have a partner who is 17, as it would then be a felony to take or possess naked pictures of him or her. So although the typical profile of a child pornography offender is not a college freshman, that does not mean they can not be convicted on these types of charges.
Sex crime cases on college campuses are unique in that you have thousands of young adults who are away from home for the first time in their lives with no curfew and no parental oversight. They consume alcohol and drugs that people have relatively easy access to and might use them irresponsibly. Many would argue that drugs are always irresponsible to use, but specifically in these cases drug use could lead to situations in which people put themselves in a very vulnerable position and bad things can happen.
The situations can be more frequent in the partying environment, and though some schools have more of a reputation for that than others, it is safe to say there is a lot of partying going on among college kids. As a result, people’s ability to judge situations is impaired and bad decisions can potentially be made.
One of the first and most commonly alleged offenses on college campuses is rape, which is sexual intercourse that takes place without the consent of another, by force, threat, or intimidation, or by virtue of the victim being incapacitated by drugs or alcohol or other means.
In addition to the regular rape charge there are also subsets of rape charges like forcible sodomy, forced oral or anal sex, and misdemeanor sexual assault and battery.
Additionally, unlawful filming can occur on college campuses, which is one crime that has serious consequences, but can be something that an individual has no idea is actually a criminal offense. Those found guilty, however, will almost certainly be suspended or expelled, and can also have a charge added on to their criminal record.
If you are charged with any of these offenses it is imperative that you consult with a Virginia sex crimes lawyer as soon as you can to begin building the strongest defense possible.
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