Colleges and Universities/Campus Assault/Fraternity Sexual Assault
College campuses and the surrounding residences are common places in which sexual assaults occur. Many of these assaults are randomly perpetrated by criminals, but in some cases, institutional failures protect habitual perpetrators of sexual assault.
Schools, police, and fraternities can create a culture of looking the other way or, worse yet, covering up sexual assaults. Sexual assault victims get silenced, and perpetrators walk away unscathed.
You can regain your voice by sharing your story with Melissa Hague. We believe you. We are ready to fight for you. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced sexual assault attorney today.
Here is an overview of some of the issues you might encounter when pursuing a campus or fraternity sexual assault case.
Campus and Fraternity Sexual Assaults
College-age women are three times more likely to suffer a sexual assault than women of other ages. Nearly 27% of college women are sexual assault survivors.
The age of college students places a high burden on colleges and fraternities. College students who are 17 years old remain minors entitled to special protection. Institutions must consider the risk that young people face in their schools. Students in their late teens and early 20s are vulnerable to sexual assaults by other students, staff members, and even instructors.
Complicating matters even further, women 18 and over are legally capable of giving consent. This fact often leads perpetrators of sexual assault to claim consent from the victim. These claims can turn the assault into a “he said, she said” case.
Investigations can also get diverted into the victim’s reputation and actions rather than focusing on the perpetrator’s actions. School investigators and campus police might even actively look for ways to dismiss the case to avoid negative publicity.
Instead of playing by their rules, you can take an active role in your case. Hiring a sexual assault attorney can put pressure on the school and the police to properly investigate your case. It will also help you build a case against the perpetrator and any institutional offenders to ensure you receive just compensation for any sexual assault injury from which you suffer.
Liability for Campus and Fraternity Sexual Assaults
The focus after any sexual assault lies primarily on the perpetrator of the assault. The criminal investigation and academic disciplinary hearing will focus on whether the assailant violated any criminal laws or university rules. And while the sexual assault victim plays a role in the investigation, the decision to prosecute or discipline the perpetrator does not lie in your hands.
But you can regain your voice and fight for justice through a civil lawsuit. Importantly, this puts control over your case back into your hands because you can pursue every person and entity responsible for the attack on you, including:
You can seek justice against the perpetrator of the attack. Some causes of action you might pursue against the perpetrator include:
- False imprisonment
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
These intentional torts require proof of the perpetrator’s intent to take the actions. In a sexual assault, your sexual assault lawyer should not have any problem proving intent. The perpetrator can allege consent, but in a civil case, you only need to negate intent by a preponderance of the evidence.
The College or University
Even if you do not attend the college or university, you can pursue a claim against the school for sexual assaults if they failed to act appropriately. These assaults include those that take place on campus or in places controlled or regulated by the school.
Some examples include assaults in:
- Arenas and stadiums
- Dormitories and other student housing
- Parking lots
- School buildings
- Recreation facilities
- Off-campus events sponsored by the school
Your sexual assault attorney will have the experience to identify all of the legal theories that might apply to your case. Most of the time, liability for the college or university will arise from the school’s negligence.
Negligence occurs when an entity fails to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. As a result of their lack of care, you suffered an injury.
Some ways your school may have behaved negligently include:
- Negligent hiring or retention
- Negligent security
- Negligent investigation of assault allegations
- Negligent supervision
- Premises liability, including poor lighting or broken locks
The benefit of using negligence is that your sexual assault lawyer does not need to prove the college or university intended to create the conditions for your assault. Instead, it is enough to prove your assault was a foreseeable consequence of the school’s negligence.
Fraternities and Sororities
Fraternities and sororities occupy a unique position. The houses typically sit off-campus, but they operate with the school’s approval. In some situations, you can hold the school responsible for acts that happen in fraternity or sorority houses. This occurs primarily when the school knew or should have known of a problem with the fraternity or sorority.
But if the school had no reason to suspect the fraternity or sorority was problematic, liability might fall only on the fraternity or sorority. This liability could include negligent or intentional actions by the organization in supervising the house, arranging events, or investigating and disciplining members.
An experienced sexual assault lawyer like Melissa Hague can identify all of the people and entities that carry potential liability for your attack. Share your story with Melissa in a free, confidential consultation today.
Damages Recoverable for a Sexual Assault Injury
When your lawyer proves liability, you can recover compensation for your economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical bills for physical, mental, and emotional injuries
- Lost income due to missed work
- Diminished earning capacity from long-term disabilities
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering
- Diminished quality of life
You can also recover punitive damages for especially egregious behavior that merits punishment. For example, if your college covered up your sexual assault and obstructed the police from investigating it, you could potentially seek punitive damages.
Hiring a Sexual Assault Attorney
Most injury lawyers offer a free consultation to new clients. Use your free consultations to find an injury lawyer with the compassion and experience to handle your sexual assault case.
Sexual assault cases are considered unique and sensitive types of cases. Melissa Hague provides the dedication and skill to listen, believe, and fight for survivors. To learn what Melissa can do to help you get justice for your injuries, contact Melissa Hague to schedule your free, confidential consultation.