11/5/2012: The ODE reports on UO’s new draft policy for reporting sexual assaults. Story by Josephine Woolington, first in a series.
The tradeoff? If you guarantee victim anonymity you will get more complete reporting, but also more false positives, and cases will be more difficult to prosecute. Ultimately, it would be interesting to see whether this would have an impact on reports of sexual assault in the area and whether these changes would lead to an increase in false allegations.
Put simply, a false allegation of sexual assault can be devastating. Allegations of sexual abuse are a nightmare scenario for anyone and are something for which no one can prepare. Unfortunately, there are many situations and circumstances that can lead to these types of falsified claims. For example, there can be incidences of consensual contact that are mischaracterized after the fact as sexual assault; misidentification by an alleged victim; or even malicious intent on the part of the alleged victim.
It is for these reasons that anyone accused of sexual assault should start protecting their livelihood and planning for a defense case as soon as they suspect they are being investigated. Moreover, retaining an experienced criminal lawyer that can help the accused through the defense process at all stages of the proceedings is strongly recommended. You can find more information about the advantages of working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer that specializes in sex crimes on the website for this team of bucks county criminal attorneys.
That is not all though. Woolington reports that the new policy requires mandatory reporting and all but removes anonymity. UO has never published a coherent policy on sexual assaults, despite the Title IX requirement. Our General Counsel’s office has been too busy doing pro bono work for the Athletic Department on their NCAA recruiting violations, I guess.
Last year the US Department of Education issued a controversial policy letter on how colleges should handle sexual assaults, weakening evidentiary standards and extending reporting deadlines. Presumably the new UO policy will include these changes. The Chronicle has an analysis here. One scathing letter on the practical consequences of the policy changes, from an administrator who deals with these issues daily, is here. Insidehighered.com has a rundown on some other opinions, pro and con, including a letter from the AAUP, here. Has the UO administration consulted with the Senate on these policy changes? No sign of it on the UO Policy Statements page.