As we have noted in a number of our posts, those accused of sex crimes, particularly men, are treated as if they have already been convicted of such crimes. Indeed, these feelings likely come from the social stigma that comes with sex crimes, as they are considered the most invasive and heinous crimes in our society.
However, for those who are wrongfully accused, the penalties and interruption to their lives can be irreparable. This may be especially true of those who are accused while they are in college. In a number of situations, men accused of sex crimes have been suspended from school, stripped of their status and otherwise discriminated against.
The harsh responses from colleges to sex assault violations are likely in response to a 2011 letter from the U.S. Department of Education to colleges and universities on the importance of promptly investigating sexual assault complaints, even if the accuser doesn’t make a complaint to the university. It also advised them to rely on the “preponderance of the evidence” standard used in civil cases instead of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard applicable in criminal cases. Moreover, institutions that did not follow this mandate faced investigations and the loss of federal funding.
This is why at least 75 men who have been accused of sex crimes have sued their former institutions. Most of them were never formally charged with a crime; mostly because an accuser did not contact police or the investigating authorities did not have enough information or evidence to proceed.
Because of the serious implications of such accusations, it is imperative to have experienced legal counsel to defend or answer to rape or sexual assault complaints.