The Ohio University Police Department says that reports of sexual assault have quadrupled over last year. At this time last year, there had been six reports of sex crimes. This year, there have been twenty-three. These reports range from public indecency to rape. A spokesperson says that the increase probably does not reflect an increase in incidents, but rather an increase in reporting.
According to OUPD Chief Andrew Powers, this phenomenon is not limited to OU, a university of about 23,000 students in Athens. His conversations with other college police departments reflect an increase in reports elsewhere in Ohio. Interestingly, this is not the case for allegations relating to off-campus incidents. Athens Police Department report no increase in sex-related crime reports in the city over the past few years.
According to the Ohio U. campus police chief, most reported college sexual encounters begin as consensual. When consent is revoked at some point during the encounter, sexual contact turns into a criminal offense. Consent can be a pivotal issue in a rape or sexual assault case.
It is an unfortunate truth that college students can be falsely accused, and in some cases, wrongfully convicted of rape and other sex crimes. In 2013, an internet video from a college campus showed a woman voluntarily performing a sexual act; she was initially identified as a student who had made a rape accusation stemming from the incident. After the video surfaced, the student denied that she was the person in the video. The college student who posted the video to the website said it was his intent to mount a campaign against “false accusers.”
The environment on college campuses across the Ohio and the country is disturbing. Frequently, administrators remove students who have been accused of sexual assault before a thorough investigation is conducted and before any wrongdoing is confirmed.
At Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima we have successfully defended students who attend the University of Cincinnati and Miami University and who have been accused of rape and sexual assault. We help the accused navigate the difficult path between the police and school administration. If you have been accused of a sex crime on a college campus, please speak with an experienced attorney before you speak with anyone from the school or law enforcement.