Should Colleges Handle Rape Accusations?

The College of the Holy Cross poorly handles reports of sexual assault.  I was twice told that accusations must go to the college lawyer, who I know to be aggressive and inclined to retaliate against victims.  I had inquired because people were stopping at the Vigil and telling me about sexual abuse by Jesuits at Holy Cross.

The NY Times has very timely coverage of these issues in a “Room for Debate” series with several professionals offering different viewpoints on whether colleges or law enforcement should handle accusations of rape.

I thought this commentary was especially informative:  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/03/12/why-should-colleges-judge-rape-accusations/rape-is-a-crime-treat-it-as-such

Here is an excerpt:

“Let’s assume someone is guilty of sexual assault. If that individual is sent to the criminal justice system, the worst case scenario is that he’s acquitted, which results in a rapist walking the streets. If that individual is sent to the campus disciplinary system, the best case scenario is that he’s expelled, which results in a rapist walking the streets.

When the best case outcome of the campus disciplinary process is the worst case outcome of the criminal justice process, you have to ask: What is this process for?”

I tried three times to report to Holy Cross the sexual assault by a Jesuit.   Two times were when I was a student, when the first person I reported it to told me to see the second person, both staff members — one the director of the Counseling Center, the other the Chaplain.   Neither person encouraged me to tell law enforcement, let alone HELPED me tell law enforcement.

Well, not much has changed.   When I reported it again in the “new era” of church I told the Holy Cross president.   He did not encourage me to report it to law enforcement either.

There are many serious problems at Holy Cross.   During the long Vigil for Justice, I will have a lot of time to discuss these issues.  I am confident it will take a long, long time.

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