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Searching for the Truth in Date Rape Accusations

In March 2006, Crystal Gail Magnum, college student and stripper, accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her at a party. The players were ultimately exonerated, but not before the case created a media circus over issues of race, hate crimes, sexism and the power of the privileged. Many presumed the players were guilty, when, in fact, it was the accuser and prosecutor who lied. This case, albeit extreme, illustrates the difficulty of getting to the truth in cases of date rape, and exposing toxic cultures on college campuses that condone this and other criminal behavior.

A case in point is unfolding now at Penn State University. CNN reported in January 2014 that Penn State is under an independent civil rights enforcement investigation following the disclosure of a record number of forcible sex offense reports in 2012. Many of the incidents actually occurred in earlier years. The investigation is to determine whether the school responded immediately and appropriately to sexual offense complaints and whether Penn State is compliant with federal law in its handling of allegations of sexual violence. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is handling the inquiry.

Further evidence of the government’s seriousness about ending sexual violence on campus came in an op-ed piece by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressing the need for the nation’s’ colleges to put an end to rape-permissive cultures. In 2012, colleges and universities reported more than 4,800 forcible sex offenses, a 50 percent jump since 2009. And this is understated, as many assaults are never reported. On a positive note, many schools have revised grievance procedures and publicized their policies on sexual violence, providing training for staff and administrators. Much of this is in response to the Department of Education’s Title IX document, which provides guidance to schools on how to respond to sexual assault complaints.

The law offices of David Jay Glassman provides experienced criminal defense representation. Call for an appointment if you have been accused of a sex crime.