Each university’s ethical code within their student handbook will cover things like consent and sexual misconduct. They will also reference the local statutes, including the fact that unlawful sexual contact in Colorado is a misdemeanor. It will qualify as a violation of the university’s ethical code, for sure. However, even things that do not rise to the level of a criminal offense can be considered an ethical violation at a university, and the anyone in that situation should refer to their student handbook to investigate what is and is not covered.
Sexual misconduct in Colorado can include everything from unwanted touching over the clothes to actual rape. Forcible rape by a stranger is probably the most severe sexual offense. All of those occurrences are covered by the statute and should be covered under most university policies. Sexual misconduct and sexual violence are defined differently in CSU’s student handbook, for example. A university’s Title IX office handles allegations that are deemed to be “so severe, persistent, or pervasive as to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s programs or activities.”
If you are accused of sexual misconduct on campus, seek help from a skilled student defense attorney. A Colorado Front Range campus sexual misconduct lawyer could help you build a defense. Speak to Justie and Jenn at Nicol Gersch Law to learn about your legal options.
Rape cases are unusual in this area of Colorado, but sexual misconduct allegations become more common when they involve drunken escapades. Most sexual misconduct cases are in the category of date rape. Usually, this happens behind closed doors with no other independent witnesses. It does not matter for the University’s purposes if it was on-campus or off-campus. Folks who live off-campus are not necessarily protected from administrative remedies if the offense itself did not happen on campus.
Some cases involve groping. If the person touches another individual’s butt, genitals or breast, that is considered a sexual offense in Colorado, regardless of whether they intended to get sexual gratification. It’s a strict liability offense and can have disastrous consequences for someone who may have innocently brushed someone else’s private parts. When in doubt, a speedy and heartfelt apology may save a lot of unwanted trouble!
Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol play a role in most criminal cases of sexual misconduct. Allegations involving sexual contact at the university level are complicated even more by drugs and alcohol. People make poor choices while they are intoxicated, and while they are high. In Colorado, marijuana is legal. The combined effects of marijuana and alcohol can lead to everyone making poor choices, whether that is the accused or the alleged victim. It is common for one party in a sexual encounter to feel that it is consensual, and the other party to disagree. Anyone in a sexual encounter should make doubly sure that the encounter is consensual.
Sexual misconduct is dealt with differently on each campus. Most universities will have a department that handles Title IX offenses specifically. Those Title IX offenses are usually sexual misconduct-type issues. Every university has a procedure for how Title IX allegations are investigated and pursued. This procedure is not always publicly available. The two departments of the regular administrative hearing office and the Title IX office do not always play nicely with each other. There is no guarantee of being able to get procedures even from the Title IX office in advance of any hearing.
The administrative setting at the university may be more willing to listen to mitigation. They will also listen to aggravating circumstances, too. They want to know what happened with the offender and with the victim much more than in criminal court. A seasoned attorney could review the facts of the case and help the defendant build a strong defense.
Each individual case is handled on a case-by-case basis at the university, more so even than in criminal court. In criminal court, a Colorado Front Range campus sexual misconduct lawyer usually can predict the likely offer from the prosecution. We know what to expect in criminal court. In the administrative setting at a university, universities will consider a lot more factors than the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system cares only about the accused person’s criminal history, risk factors, and proving the case against an accused. If they have been convicted of a sexual crime before, that has negative impacts on all aspects of the case.
If you are facing charges for sexual misconduct, do not try to fight your case alone. Jenn and Justie are ready to help. They could protect your rights and help you avoid serious consequences. Speak to a Colorado Front Range campus sexual misconduct lawyer to learn about your legal rights and options. Schedule a consultation now!