College Sexual Assault and Harassment Lawyer
College Sexual Assault Attorney
THE STARTLING FACTS
California college sex assaults and harassment based on gender and sexual orientation are rampant. 1 in 5 female college students have experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college. Underage drinking, frat house environments and college parties often result in women (and men) being taken advantage of. Additionally, harassment based on one’s sexual orientation is prevalent throughout every campus and university in California. Sadly, sex abusers often go unpunished because most victims of student sexual assault and harassment are too afraid, or ashamed to report the abuse.
The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network found that only 20% of female student sexual assault victims between 18-24 report to law enforcement and only 32% of nonstudent females the same age file a report. There are many reasons why survivors are hesitant to report these crimes, including fear of retaliation, fear of losing friends and fear of becoming unpopular or isolated from social groups.
But if you are the victim of college sexual assault or harassment in California, it is important to remember that the law is on your side. Sex abusers must be held accountable. Under California law, victims are entitled to justice, and they have the right to fully heal from past sexual trauma.
In addition to the perpetrator who commits the abuse or harassment, California colleges and universities may also be held liable for failing to protect and accommodate you.
CALIFORNIA AND FEDERAL LAW REGARDING COLLEGE SEX ASSAULT
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sexual discrimination in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. In California, Education Codes 66262.5 and 66281.8 mandate that all college and university campuses protect students from sexual assault and harassment.
This definition of discrimination includes rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Schools with federal funding can be held legally responsible when a sexual assault occurs on campus or in one of its programs or activities if the school was aware of the sexual misconduct or did not do enough to prevent it.
Each California school is required to take appropriate steps when a victim of abuse or harassment reports the issue to school officials. California campuses are required to:
- Conduct a formal investigation
- Provide the victim with protection from predators
- Provide the victim with appropriate accommodations
- Provide the victim with counseling options
- Report the abuse to law enforcement
- Compile data regarding crimes such as sex abuse/harassment and make this data available to federal and state governments
- Alert other students and employees of any known risks to their safety
- Punish abusers appropriately
- Prevent future harm
Every California school has a legal duty to provide a safe campus environment for its students and to properly investigate accusations of sexual assault and harassment. If they fail to do so, or if they engage in a cover-up of the abuse, the college is liable to the victim for compensation.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING COLLEGE SEXUAL ASSAULT:
What is the law governing college sexual assault and harassment?
California victims of college sexual assault and sexual harassment are covered by two different sets of laws.
- Title IX: This is a federal law that applies to every state in the nation. It reads: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
- CA Ed. Codes 66262.5 and 66281.8: These are state laws specific to California, which provide even greater protection than the Federal Title IX law.
These laws recognize and attempt to address the myriad ways sexual harassment, sexual stalking and sexual assault interfere with student’s ability to obtain an education. In essence, these laws are in place to ensure that every student receives fair and equal access to the educational process without regard to their gender or sexual orientation.
What is the difference between the California and Federal Laws?
California law makes the reporting and grievance process easier for victims by removing certain due process and procedural considerations that are required under federal law.
Also, as currently interpreted, Federal law may not provide protection for victims of LGBT+ discrimination under Title IX. The state law makes clear that any harassment or assault based upon a person’s sexual identity or orientation is prohibited under California law.
What is the definition of sexual assault or misconduct under California law?
Sex assault and harassment can take many forms. Generally, the abuse falls under three broad categories:
Sexual Harassment: means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, made by someone in the educational setting, under any of the following conditions:
- Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or a condition of an individual's academic status, or progress.
- Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis of academic decisions affecting the individual.
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact upon the individual's work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
- Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the educational institution.
Sexual Violence: means physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person without the person's affirmative consent. Physical sexual acts include both of the following:
- Rape, defined as penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any part or object, or oral copulation of a sex organ by another person, without the consent of the victim.
- Sexual battery means the intentional touching of another person's intimate parts without consent, intentionally causing a person to touch the intimate parts of another without consent, or using a person's own intimate part to intentionally touch another person's body without consent.
Sexual Exploitation: means a person taking sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person's consent, including, but not limited to, any of the following acts:
- The prostituting of another person.
- The trafficking of another person, defined as the inducement of a person to perform a commercial sex act, or labor or services, through force, fraud, or coercion.
- The recording of images, including video or photograph, or audio of another person's sexual activity or intimate parts, without that person's consent.
- The distribution of images, including video or photograph, or audio of another person's sexual activity or intimate parts, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to the disclosure.
- The viewing of another person's sexual activity or intimate parts, in a place where that other person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person's consent, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
Students victimized under any of these categories have an absolute right to protection from their college or university.
What can I do if I am the victim of college sexual harassment or assault?
- Every California college campus is required to have a clearly defined process in place to address claims of sexual assault and harassment.
- Each school must have a designated coordinator who is readily available to receive all complaints of sexual misconduct.
- Every school must also train each employee, including professors and staff, to identify and report claims of sexual assault or harassment.
If you are the victim of sexual assault or harassment, you can tell any professor or college staff, but the most direct way to address your claim is to file a complaint with the Title IX coordinator. Victims are also entitled to contact local law enforcement to report any criminal sexual activity.
What steps must the college or university take to address my sexual assault or harassment claim?
Once a college becomes aware of a claim of sexual assault or sexual misconduct of any kind, they must immediately take steps to address the issue.
Once a victim files a claim with the Title IX coordinator, the school must open an investigation. The college must take steps to remove the victim from the predator, they must alert law enforcement if necessary and they must do everything in their power to provide the victim with a safe environment.
The victim must be afforded the process of a hearing to determine the extent of the assault and they must punish anyone who is deemed guilty of committing acts of assault or harassment.
What happens if the college or university fails to address my claim?
If a school fails to properly address issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment, they may be liable, entitling you to compensation. If the school fails to properly address the issue, fails to keep you safe and fails to punish the perpetrator, the college or university is in violation of both sate and Federal laws. It is important to discuss these issues with an experienced California College Sexual assault lawyer who can advise you of your rights and remedies under the law.
What compensation is available if the college fails to address my claim?
California college sex assault and harassment survivors are entitled to compensation for all damages, including:
- Medical treatment for physical injuries
- Psychiatric treatment and psychological treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
Should I hire a lawyer to assist me?
If you or a loved on has been the victim of college sexual assault or sexual harassment and you believe that the school did not take the proper steps to ensure your access to an education, you should strongly consider speaking to an attorney who can thoroughly evaluate the facts and advise you of your legal rights.
Colleges and universities who fail to protect you will most likely never compensate you without the help and representation of a qualified attorney. These schools will fight against any civil claims, and it is important to have an attorney on your side who knows the law and who will fight back.
How does Craig Charles Law assist victims of college sexual assault and harassment?
Our experienced team of dedicated sex assault and sexual harassment attorneys takes a wholistic legal approach to helping each sex assault client. Not only do we fight zealously to achieve maximum compensation in your civil lawsuit, but we also work closely to ensure that criminal charges are pursued on your behalf if necessary. In addition, we provide you with access to the best mental health professionals who help you heal from the sexual trauma you’ve experienced.
What sets Craig Charles Law apart from other law firms?
Unlike large law firms that handle hundreds and even thousands of cases, Craig Charles Law is a boutique firm that gives each client individualized attention. Every client works directly with a highly experienced attorney who communicates with our clients every step of the way. Our goal is to not only get our clients compensated, but to also help victims overcome the pain and trauma experienced as the result of their assault. At Craig Charles Law, we exclusively handle sex assault and abuse claims. This narrow focus gives us keen insight and ability to obtain the best result for each client.
Put Your Trust in Experienced California College Sex Assault Lawyers
Craig Charles Law understands the devastating impact that sex assault or sexual harassment can play in the lives of young adults. The lasting effects can interfere with work, one’s social life and the ability to form lasting relationships. We believe every client has the absolute right to a happy and prosperous life, free from the shame and guilt caused by predators. We are here to fight for you and our goal is to give you your power back!
Call Craig Charles Law today for a free, confidential phone call to discuss your legal rights under California and federal law. We are a gay friendly, LGBTQ+ affirming law practice. Put your trust in us and allow us to put our experience to work for you. Call 424-343-0660.
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