Does information about a complaint remain private?
The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with the college’s obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the accused student may lead to conduct action by the college district.In all complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the alleged victim. Certain college administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g., the President of the college, Dean of Students, Director of Campus Safety, the Title IX Officer). If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the college, and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The institution also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
Will my parents or other family members find out?
No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the college’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents and/or next of kin. College officials may directly speak with parents and/or next of kin when requested to do so by a student, in a life-threatening situation, [or if an accused student has signed a release of records in the Enrollment Center to allow such communication].
Will the accused student know my identity?
Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused student has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim. If there is a hearing, the college does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including closed-circuit testimony, Skype, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.
Do I have to name the perpetrator?
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint (but you should consult the complete confidentiality procedure above to better understand the college’s legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials). Victims should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your advisor. You may also contact the Dean of Student Services’ Office, for an explanation of the college’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor in the Student Health Center or seek other community assistance. See below regarding legal representation.
Will I (as a victim) have to pay for counseling/or medical care?
Not typically, if the institution provides these services already. If a victim is accessing community and non-institutional services, payment for these will usually be at the cost of the student and will be subject to state/local laws, insurance requirements, etc.
What about legal advice?
Victims of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to pursue prosecution because representation will be handled by the District Attorney’s *Prosecutor’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are the accused student or are considering filing a civil action. The accused student may retain counsel at their own expense if they determine that they need legal advice about criminal prosecution and/or the campus conduct proceeding.
What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim’s person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should call the police in the town the assault took place.The police will accompany you to a nearby Emergency Clinic. In order to preserve evidence, you should not wash yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specially trained nurse) at the hospital is usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (call the Emergency Room if you first want to speak to the nurse; ER will refer you). A victim advocate can also accompany you to Hospital and law enforcement or Security can provide transportation. If a victim goes to the hospital, local police will be called, but s/he is not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to a victim, but will not obligation him or her to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the victim decide later to exercise it.
For the Victim: the hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene—leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.
Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct complaint?
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused student’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint. A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove his/her complaint. If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the accused without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused student.
Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?
Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.
What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the LPC sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Dean of Student Services’ Office or the Student Health Center. They can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.
TITLE IX Links:
Dr. Diane Scott-Summers
Interim Vice President, Student Services
Vice President, Student Services
Dean, Student Services