PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Chris Perry

Telephone: 301-801-0608

Email: cperry@saveservices.org

Most College Rapists Never Spend a Day in Jail:  SAVE Calls on Lawmakers to End Campus ‘Kangaroo Courts’

WASHINGTON / September 13, 2016 – Two weeks after former Stanford University student Brock Turner was released from jail after serving a 3-month sentence for raping an unconscious woman, members of the public continue to express outrage and concern that campus rape is not being taken as a serious problem.

SAVE urges lawmakers to consider the lessons of the Turner case:

  1. Rape is a heinous offense, and needs to be treated that way.
  2. Local criminal justice authorities – not the Stanford University disciplinary committee – were the appropriate persons to handle the case.
  3. Alcohol abuse is a major contributor to sexual assault, and binge drinking needs to be addressed.

Unfortunately, few of the bills debated in state legislatures in 2016 addressed any of these factors. Instead, most bills espoused unproven approaches such as affirmative consent, evoking concerns about the erosion of the presumption of innocence (1).

To rectify this shortcoming, SAVE is today announcing a new model bill titled the Campus Equality, Fairness, and Transparency Act (2). CEFTA encourages the involvement of local criminal justice authorities and supports the rights and interests of both the complainant and accused student.

CEFTA requires universities to implement policies to reduce alcohol and drug abuse, calls on universities to use justice-centered investigative procedures, and delineates a series of due process protections for the accused student.

CEFTA also contains a section that provides clear-cut definitions of a series of graded sexual offenses. This addresses the trend of universities to create definitions of sexual misconduct that are increasingly broad. Such definitions encourage universities to regard allegations of “micro-aggressions” on par with allegations of rape, thus trivializing the rape problem. Vague definitions also make it more difficult for accused students to defend themselves from false allegations.

In 2011 the federal Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter directing that all campus sexual assault cases be handled by campus sex tribunals. Five years later, these committees are often derided as “Kangaroo Courts” that at most, can only expel sexual offenders. As a result, a majority of campus rapists are never sentenced to time in prison.

Three national polls show a strong majority of Americans believe college rapes should be handled by the criminal justice system, not campus sex tribunals (3).

Lawmakers who are potentially interested in becoming sponsors of the Campus Equality, Fairness, and Transparency Act in the 2017 legislative session should contact Gina Lauterio, Program Director, at glauterio@saveservices.org

Citations:

  1. http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/affirmative-consent/
  2. http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/cefta/
  3. http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/opinion-polls/