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Holding Institutions Accountable

Dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault on campus is incredibly challenging, especially when seeking justice through the legal system. At The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, we understand the sensitive nature of these cases and offer compassionate legal representation to survivors. Our law firm is dedicated to providing strong legal representation for survivors of campus sexual assault, helping them regain control of their lives.

Compassionate Legal Representation for Campus Sexual Assault Survivors

Michael S. Lamonsoff, Esq., one of New York’s top-rated personal injury attorneys, has dedicated over 25 years to winning cases for survivors of sexual abuse, including rape, sexual assault, campus sexual assault, sexual molestation, and improper touching. Mr. Lamonsoff, Esq. is uniquely qualified to bring lawsuits against sexual predators.

He understands that achieving justice for a sexual assault survivor requires not only legal expertise but also a compassionate understanding of the traumatic and long-lasting effects of sexual assault. Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Lamonsoff earned a Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees in psychology from Columbia University. He also received training and provided counseling to numerous survivors of sexual abuse, making him uniquely qualified to understand with compassion how to help survivors tell their stories, fight their abusers, and find closure.

university campus

What Constitutes Sexual Assault/Abuse in NYC?

In New York City, sexual assault and abuse refer to a range of unwanted sexual acts that are committed without consent. There are two significant categories of consent:

  • Affirmative Consent: A knowing, voluntary, and mutual agreement to engage in sexual activity.
  • Incapacity to Consent: This can include instances where an individual is asleep, unconscious, or incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs.

“Unwanted sexual acts committed without consent” includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Forcible Touching: This involves intentionally, and without consent, touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person.
  • Sexual Misconduct: Engaging in sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct, or aggravated sexual contact without the other person's consent.
  • Criminal Sexual Acts: Oral or anal sexual conduct without consent. This also includes conduct by force or with a person who is incapable of consent due to age or other factors.

Remember, consent is a clear, unambiguous, and ongoing agreement. It cannot be obtained through intimidation, coercion, or force. It is your right to say no at any point, and your “no” must be respected.

What College Sexual Assault Victims Need to Know

Sexual assault on college campuses encompasses a range of non-consensual sexual behaviors, including rape, unwanted touching, and coercion, that occur within the college community. It is a violation of an individual's bodily autonomy and can have profound and lasting effects on the survivor's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

Survivors of campus sexual assault often face challenges in seeking support and justice, including fear of retaliation, disbelief, and stigma. If you are a victim of sexual assault, it is essential to know that you are not alone. It is not your fault; options are available to help you seek justice and support.

You should also seek resources such as counseling, medical care, and legal assistance. Remember that seeking help is a courageous step, and individuals and organizations are dedicated to supporting you through this difficult time.

University Sexual Assault Statistics

  • 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation
  • 23.1% of female undergraduates and 5.4% of male undergraduates experience rape or sexual assault
  • 21% of transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming, questioning, and nonbinary (TGQN) students have been sexually assaulted
  • 13% of all students experience stalking
  • 27.2% of LGBTQIA+ students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation
  • Additional research shows that a large percentage of sexual assaults on college campuses go unreported, contributing to a culture of silence and underreporting
university building

What Type of Law Covers Campus Sexual Assault in New York?

Campus sexual assault in New York is primarily governed by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX is further discussed in the next section.

Additionally, New York state law plays a significant role in addressing campus sexual assault, including defining criminal offenses related to sexual misconduct and establishing legal protections for survivors:

  • The state's Penal Law outlines criminal offenses such as rape, sexual abuse, and forcible touching, which apply to incidents of sexual assault on college campuses.
  • New York has implemented legislation to address campus sexual violence, including requirements for colleges and universities to adopt comprehensive policies and procedures for responding to and preventing sexual assault.

New York has also enacted legislation to address campus sexual assault through the implementation of affirmative consent standards and reporting requirements for colleges and universities. These laws aim to create a safer environment for students and ensure that institutions take proactive measures to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

How Title IX Requires Schools to Respond to College Sexual Assault

As previously discussed, Title IX is a federal civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. When you face sexual harassment or assault on campus, your school is required by Title IX to take immediate and effective steps to respond to the incident.

This includes carrying out thorough investigations, offering support services to survivors, taking disciplinary action against perpetrators, and promoting a campus environment free from sexual violence. Additionally, Title IX requires colleges to create and share policies and procedures for handling reports of sexual assault, ensuring that the response process is transparent and accountable.

It's crucial for schools to comply with Title IX not only to protect students' rights to safety and equal access to education but also to promote a culture of respect and accountability within academic communities.

To summarize, you have the following rights under Title IX:

  • Prompt Response: Your institution must respond promptly to sexual harassment and violence complaints.
  • Investigation: There must be an equitable investigation of all claims.
  • Interim Measures: Schools must provide accommodations like changing classes or housing as necessary.
  • Prevention: Schools must implement preventive education programs.
  • Policy: There must be a clear policy against sex-based discrimination.
  • Accessibility: There should be an accessible process for filing complaints.
  • Confidentiality: Your confidentiality must be maintained throughout the process.
  • Protection: You should be protected from retaliation during and after the process.

Who Can Be Held Legally Liable for Campus Sexual Assault?

In cases of campus sexual assault, different parties could be legally responsible based on the specific details of the incident:

  • Perpetrator: The person who committed the sexual assault is primarily responsible for their actions.
  • Educational Institution: Your college or university might be held responsible under Title IX if they didn't ensure a safe environment or mishandled the incident.
  • Fraternities and Sororities: If the assault happened at a fraternity or sorority house or event, that organization could also be held accountable.
  • Campus Organizations: Any other campus groups hosting the event where the assault occurred might share responsibility.
  • Staff and Faculty Members: If a staff or faculty member was negligent or involved, such as a professor, they could also be held responsible.
  • Security Personnel: If campus security didn't provide adequate safety measures, they might also share liability.

How to Report Campus Sexual Assault

If you are a victim of campus sexual assault, it is crucial to know the steps you can take to report the incident.

First, contact campus security or the police immediately if you are in danger. If you cannot find their number, dial 911 for emergency services.

Second, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not have visible injuries, you may have internal injuries or be at risk of sexually transmitted infections. Two options include the following:

  • Find Your Campus Health Center: This is a safe place to start, and they can guide you to additional resources.
  • Local Hospital: Ensure you get a full medical examination.

Third, report the incident to your educational institution. Every college is required to have a Title IX Coordinator who handles sexual assault reports, and many schools offer confidential advisors who can assist you through the reporting process.

Fourth, document everything. Write down all the incident details, including the date, time, and place, as well as descriptions of the individuals involved. Do not wash your clothes or shower until after you've been examined, as you might wash away substantial evidence.

Fifth, consider speaking to a campus sexual assault lawyer in New York City, such as the team at The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, to understand your rights and options. They can guide you through the process of holding the perpetrator accountable. Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources to support you through this challenging time.

college students walking up stairs

What to Do if the School Fails to Respond Properly

Schools that receive federal funding must adhere to Title IX. If your school is not addressing your sexual assault case appropriately, take these steps to seek justice:

  • Document Everything: Maintain detailed records of all interactions, reports, and replies (or lack thereof) from your school. Include dates, times, and names. Documentation proves invaluable when you need to escalate the matter.
  • Contact a Title IX Attorney: Title IX protects you from discrimination in education. An attorney specializing in Title IX cases can provide guidance on proceeding and hold the school accountable for its inaction.
  • File a Title IX Complaint: If your school is federally funded, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
  • Seek Support Systems: Connect with campus or local support groups. Organizations such as RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) provide free, confidential support.
  • Consider Legal Action: If the school's non-response infringes on your rights, your lawyer might suggest filing a lawsuit. Civil litigation can compel the school to respond and adhere to regulations.
Steps to File a Complaint Where to Submit
1. Identify Violation OCR Complaint Form
2. Gather Documentation Online or via mail
3. Complete Form As directed on the website

Why You Should Hire a Campus Sexual Assault Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer specialized in this field can provide the following benefits:

  • Expert Guidance: A campus sexual assault lawyer is knowledgeable about Title IX and other relevant laws. They can navigate the complex legal landscape to ensure your rights are protected.
  • Strong Advocacy: These lawyers act as your advocate, fiercely representing your interests. Whether defending your rights or seeking justice, they are trained to advocate on your behalf with determination.
  • Experience: Sexual assault cases on campus have unique dynamics and implications. A specialized lawyer brings experience handling such sensitive cases, which can be critical for a positive outcome.
  • Negotiation Skills: Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, often achieving results without needing a prolonged court case, thus saving you time and stress.

What Compensation You're Entitled To

If you’ve experienced sexual assault on campus, you have the right to seek compensation, which may include the following:

  • Medical Expenses: You may claim compensation for all medical treatment stemming from the assault, including emergency services, hospitalization, medications, and ongoing therapies.
  • Counseling Costs: Comprehensive psychological care is often necessary. You can seek reimbursement for all related expenses, including costs for a therapist or counselor.
  • Educational Disruption: If the assault impacts your education, such as requiring a change in schools or dropping courses, you may be entitled to compensation for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.
  • Lost Wages: If you require time away from work to recover or to pursue legal actions, you may receive compensation for lost income.
  • Pain and Suffering: Beyond tangible expenses, you're entitled to compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering caused by the assault.
  • Punitive Damages: In some cases, punitive damages may be pursued as a way to punish the perpetrator or institution for their negligence or wrongdoing.
Type of Compensation Description
Medical Expenses Costs for immediate and ongoing medical treatment.
Counseling Costs Expenses related to mental health services.
Educational Disruption Reimbursement for tuition, fees, and other costs due to education interruption.
Lost Wages Income lost due to time off work for recovery or legal pursuits.
Pain and Suffering Compensation for the physical and emotional trauma endured.
Punitive Damages Financial punishment levied against the perpetrator or institution as a form of penalty.
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