Date Rape on College Campuses in Pennsylvania

Date Rape on College Campuses in Pennsylvania

As a criminal defense attorney, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I know that date rape is a growing problem across college campuses with women and men at risk for being sexually assaulted by students and visitors. The results of a sexual assault can be physical, psychological, and financial. Victims of rape may become pregnant and/or experience physical injuries. The trauma of the experience can lead to humiliation, shame, depression, and anxiety. Receiving medical care after a sexual assault can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills that may not be entirely covered by insurance. Ultimately, victimized students may feel the need to leave, interrupting their education and careers. Equally troubling are the false date rape accusations that students can level at one another. Sexual assault is a serious crime, and when it is lied about, the impact on alleged offenders and their families is devastating.

In this article, I will explain date rape, the criminal charges of the crime, actions to take when accused of date rape and the collateral consequences of date rape accusations in Pennsylvania.

What is Date Rape in Pennsylvania?

Date rape is a term used to denote a sexual assault that occurs between people who know each other, usually with a romantic or personal connection. The two individuals do not have to be close or in a committed relationship. It may be a first date or friends who live in the same dorm.

Date rape also commonly refers to a sexual assault that took place while the victim was intoxicated or drugged. This is why you may often hear about date rape drugs, including Rohypnol, ketamine, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, and ecstasy. In a stereotypical date rape situation, the perpetrator slips a liquid or powder form of one of these drugs into the victim’s drink or food to alter the victim’s physical and mental capabilities.

The specific effects of a date rape drug depend on the compound, how much was given, and whether it was combined with alcohol. However, generally, generally cause loss of motor control, difficulty talking, dizziness, confusion, sleepiness, nausea, and loss of consciousness. Another common date rape scenario does not require illegal drugs. Instead, the perpetrator relies on encouraging the victim to drink a great deal of alcohol, causing similar symptoms.

What are the Criminal Charges for Date Rape in Pennsylvania?

There is not a specific statute for date rape. Instead, an individual accused of date rape will be charged with a sex crime under Pennsylvania law, such as indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, or rape, based on the alleged facts of the criminal conduct.

  • Indecent assault: Under Pennsylvania law section 3126, you can be found guilty of indecent assault if you have indecent contact with the victim, cause the victim to have indecent contact with you, or cause the victim to come into contact with urine, feces, or semen for the purpose of arousal without the victim’s consent, through force, or through impairing the victim’s power or control through drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants. You can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, first-degree misdemeanor, or a third-degree felony.
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse: Under Pennsylvania law section 3123, you can be convicted of a first-degree felony if you engage in deviate sexual intercourse with another person without that person’s consent, through force, or through substantially impairing that person’s power and control with drugs, alcohol or other intoxicants. Deviate sexual intercourse includes the penetration of the anus or the penetration of the anus or genitals with a foreign object.
  • Rape: Under Pennsylvania law section 3121, you can be found guilty of a first-degree felony when you engage in sexual intercourse with another person through force, threat, or who is unconscious, you have substantially impaired with drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants, or has a mental disability.

What Should I Do If Falsely Accused of Date Rape in Pennsylvania?

When someone is falsely accused of date rape, the first action to be taken is to contact a criminal defense attorney. It is important to keep in mind that the false accuser may try to gather information to incriminate the alleged attacker, therefore, it is imperative that the accused should not make any statements to anyone without his or her lawyer being present.

Log the sequence of events from before the social outing took place until the moment the false accusation was mentioned for the first time.

Physical evidence should be gathered when possible, such as:

  • Clothing
  • Pictures taken with a smartphone
  • Text messages
  • Receipts
  • Handwritten notes

These items should be collected along with an explanation as to their relevance.

A list of witnesses and their contact information should be provided to the criminal defense attorney. In some cases, the false allegations may not initially escalate into criminal charges being filed; however, this is something that could easily change at any time. For this reason, it is imperative to retain counsel and not speak to the accuser.

What are the Collateral Consequences of Date Rape in Pennsylvania?

There are additional consequences for you as a college student. Rape accusations, even those that do not lead to a conviction, can result in your expulsion. Being kicked out of school for criminal sexual behavior disrupts your education and can make it difficult to be accepted to a new University. It may take you multiple semesters or quarters to find a new situation. Additionally, having this in your history can make difficult to obtain internships or find a job upon graduation.

You may also be civilly liable to the alleged victim. Whether or not you are convicted of a sex crime, the other individual may be able to bring a personal injury claim against you. If this case succeeds, you can be held responsible for compensating that person for their economic and non-economic injuries. This can be a significant financial strain on a college student who may have little income.

If you have been falsely accused of date rape, the time to retain an experienced attorney is now. Contact the Fishman Firm to defend you against these life-altering accusations.

By |2017-09-14T19:07:08+00:00July 12th, 2017|Categories: Criminal Defense|Tags: , , |