Sexual Assault on College Campuses: A Serious Problem

Sexual assault is one of the most serious student safety issues on college campuses today.Reported incidents of sexual assault on college campuses are believed to far exceed incidents in the general population. Ina Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study involving 5,000 college students at over 100 colleges, 20% of women reported having been forced to submit to sexual intercourse against their will.

We Fight for the Victims of Sexual Assault 

As college sexual assault lawyers, we fight for the victims of sexual assault on university campuses.  We also fight for victims who have been sexually assaulted on high school campuses, in the workplace, and in all other situations.

Our role is to hold accountable for our clients all those who are responsible for the occurrence of the sexual assault, including perpetrators and others who may have contributed to the assault through negligence.

Are Schools and Universities Liable for Sexual Assault on Campus?

While sexual assault is a crime, schools and universities can be held liable when their negligence contributes to or causes an unreasonable risk of a sexual assault.  Negligence can occur in a variety of forms, including:

  • Not making the campus safe, such as by not maintaining adequate lighting at night,
  • Hiring instructors who are known sexual predators,
  • Allowing students who are known sexual predators to have student residence housing, participate in sports, or, in some cases, to remain at a university,
  • Not ensuring the safety of dormitories and residence halls,
  • Failing to take action when a school-sponsored organization, such as a fraternity, engages in conduct involving sexual assault.

 

Federal Law and On-Campus Sexual Assault – Title IX Prohibitions

Under Federal law, a school (including colleges and universities) may be held liable for on-campus sexual assault under Title IX’s prohibitions against sex discrimination. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex by any program or activity that receives federal funds (which includes most colleges and universities).

Holding a University Liable for Sexual Assault by Another Student

Campus sexual assault victims whobring an action under Title IX in seeking to hold a university liable for sexual assault by another student must show that the school had “substantial control” over the student perpetrator. This would commonly be seen where the school failed to remove a dangerous student from campus, failed to provide a safe environment, or acted with indifference toward a sexual assault risk.

Under Title IX, if a student is threatening another student, the university must take certain action in order to protect threatened student.  In 2007, a Title IX on campus sexual assault case against the University of Colorado settled for $2.5 million, because the university acted with deliberate indifference to sexual harassment and assault by football players and recruits directly resulting in numerous cases of likely preventable sexual assault.

Holding the Perpetrator Liable 

Irrespective of whether a criminal charge of sexual assault is brought by prosecutors, a civil lawsuit for compensation based on sexual assault and other legal theories should be brought.  It’s important to understand that unlike a criminal charge (in which a person must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt), the threshold for liability in civil court is a much lower “more likely than not” standard.

If a person has already been convicted of sexual assault in a criminal matter, in a civil matter the main consideration is usually the determination of damages, as the fact that an assault has occurred “beyond a reasonable doubt” has already been established.

Compensation for Sexual Assault Victims 

Victims who sue schools, colleges and universities, workplaces, and perpetrators may receive compensatory damages for physical injuries, post-traumatic stress, general emotional distress,pain and suffering, and any other damage suffered.  If death has occurred, family members are entitled to recover damages for wrongful death. In cases of outrageous conduct, punitive damages may be awarded to deter future misconduct.

We Fight for the Victims of Campus Sexual Assault 

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can meet with us and learn about your options for seeking legal recovery against all those who are responsible.  We fully investigate all claims so that we can identify all those who we believe were responsible, in addition to the actual perpetrator.  Once we have identified all people and entities that we believe are liable, we then will file suit against each of them and seek from them their full share of compensation due based upon their liability.

We typically represent injury victim clients on a contingency fee basis.  If this is the case for your matter, you will not owe us any fees for our time and services unless and until we recover compensation for you.   Please call us today to set up your free consultation at a time that is convenient with your schedule.

 

Client Testimonials

103 W. Seneca Street, Suite 301
Ithaca, NY 14850
Telephone: (607) 272-5590
Fax: (607) 272-5594

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