Sex Crime Allegations on College Campuses

The following is taken from an interview with a DC student defense lawyer as they discuss sex crimes allegations and why they are so common on college campuses. If you have been accused, call and schedule a consultation today to begin building your defense.

What Are The Most Common Sex Crimes Accusations On College Campuses?

A university’s student code of conduct can prohibit a larger variety of misconduct as compared to criminal laws. As an example, conduct that may qualify as protected First Amendment free speech outside the campus setting and therefore would not be considered criminal, can still be considered a violation of a student code of conduct.

Sexual Harassment

Another example is sexual harassment, which is not considered criminal activity, but it can be a violation of student code of conduct because it can create a toxic student atmosphere and can inhibit a learning environment.

Sexual Assault

An example of student misconduct that is also a violation of criminal laws is sexual assault. Sexual assault is any sexual act or sexual contact, which can include, but does not need to consist of, penetration, which is performed without a participant’s consent.

Sexual assault can also include a sexual act or sexual contact performed on a person who is incapacitated to the point of not being able to provide consent. That typically means performing a sexual act or performing sexual contact with a person who is too intoxicated to be able to provide consent.

Intoxication can be from alcohol, drugs, or any other substance that could incapacitate a person to a point where they do not have the ability to consent. That does not mean that any sexual act or sexual contact with a person who has been drinking is a sexual assault. However, it does mean that a person can be intoxicated to the point where they are not capable of providing consent.

In any sexual situation, including sexual assault, the people involved have to rely on indicators of consent. An individual cannot assume that consent is present as long as the other person does not specifically say, “No,” or “I don’t want to do this,” or physically resist the sexual act or sexual contact.


On campus, another act that can be a violation of a student code of conduct is filming any sexual acts or sexual contact without the knowledge and willful consent of all of the people involved. Further, disseminating any film or photographs of that sexual contact or sexual acts can result in a more significant violation of a student code of conduct.

Why Are Sex Crimes Allegations So Common on College Campuses?

College students are very often for the first time in close contact with each other and might be exploring their sexuality to a much greater degree than before arriving at college.

For the first time, they might be sexually involved with people living nearby. They might be trying alcohol or drugs. College students are young and are exploring their freedom for the first time. As a result, they can be in situations where they are accused of going too far when engaging in sexual activity. Especially in situations where there might be alcohol or drugs involved, someone who is not well equipped to handle these kinds of new situations could be accused of taking advantage of another person sexually.

Potential Consequences Of Being Found Guilty of a Sex Crime on Campus

When a person is accused of a sex crime, like sexual assault on a college campus, being found responsible for it can result in suspension or expulsion, and can sometimes be accompanied by criminal charges of sexual assault. A campus sexual assault is not punishable by jail time or sex offender registration, unless it is actually charged in court.

How Can a Student Defense Attorney Help?

University sexual offense hearings can be very complicated as the rules are all set and enforced by the university. They are also presided over by university officials and sometimes students, and any appeals that might be requested are also heard by university officials or university students. As a result, being accused in a university student conduct hearing of a sexual offense can be very intimidating and very difficult. The accusations, if found to be true, can have lasting impact on a person’s ability to remain a student, to get future employment, and to live a full life.

As a result of the very serious nature of these kinds of allegations and the fact that university sexual misconduct hearings can be accompanied by criminal charges of sexual assault or other sexual crimes, getting proper representation is absolutely essential to protecting your rights and ensuring you do not do anything that can worsen a criminal case or increase the penalties one may face through the university conduct proceedings.