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Rape and Sexual Assault Charges on Maryland College Campuses

While there are other types of charges, including other types of harassment charges on campus, there is nothing a university treats more seriously than crimes of violence and sexual misconduct allegations. These events directly reflect on the safety of the university and the university’s reputation and have an impact on people feeling safe living on campus. They can also affect whether parents are going to feel comfortable sending their children to a school where they are safe and protected by officials on the university campus. Below, a Maryland student defense lawyer discusses these charges and what you should do if charged. To learn more call today.

Severity of Rape and Sexual Assault

It is important to remember that people cannot be supervised all the time, particularly when they are living on a college campus. The parents are not on campus and university officials and resident advisers can only go so far to provide students with information regarding their behavior. As a result, universities make it very clear that there are zero tolerance policies when it comes to these things and the consequences that the students face are severe. Most, if not all, universities in the entire country take sexual assault offenses seriously and will get local authorities involved.

Difference Between These and Sexual Harassment Charges

With sexual assault and rape a person is physically violated. They may be touched inappropriately, or they may be forced to have sexual intercourse against their will. Harassment that is of a sexual nature does not necessarily have to be physical, although it can be. Harassment can occur in the local community or, it can be online. It is anything that is used to annoy another individual and is not necessarily a physical violation.

Role of Consent in Sexual Charges

Lack of consent is an essential element of any kind of sexual assault, harassment, or rape allegations. It is also used as defense in sexual assault and rape charges because an individual, who consented to an interaction with another party, cannot legitimately make the claim of sexual assault or rape.

When a person makes a representation to the court, the police, or university officials that they did not consent, there must be an investigation regarding any evidence, that there is a lack of consent. This could include physical evidence that one might find with a rape kit. It could also be a lack of ability to consent because the person is drugged, intoxicated, or incapacitated to such a degree, that the other individual involved knew or should have known that the person was not in a position to give consent.

Affirmative Consent

Affirmative consent means that a person who is participating in an act with another person agrees without reservation to participate in that act. He or she did not feel forced, threatened, or was not incapacitated in a way that influenced their ability to consent at the time, or for consenting in the particular instance.

“Yes Means Yes” Laws

There is no ‘Yes means yes law’ outlined by the courts in Maryland. The courts examine all factors associated with consent to determine whether or not consent was established. That could include the behavior that led up to the interaction between the two parties, their interaction with each other after the alleged incident took place, or their state of mind at the time. It might include any motive that either party would have to commit the act, even that the individual fabricated an allegation of sexual assault or rape against the other person.

Consequences of Rape and Sexual Assault

Some of the potential consequences include expulsion or suspension from the university, probation, being required to complete courses, or community service. The consequences are activities the university deems necessary to ensure the safety of other individuals on campus.