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Sexual Assault Prevention Statement
Jefferson Community College has programs in place to protect all members of the campus community from sexual assault, including programs for prevention and prosecution of these crimes that occur within the jurisdiction of our campus.
Sexual Assaults on College Campuses
Traditionally, college-aged students are more susceptible to being victims of sexual assault than any other age group. They are typically in a new setting with a variety of environmental stressors, and away from direct parental supervision and past support systems. Peer pressure is strong; identities are not yet firm; abilities are not yet clearly established; and there is a mistaken belief about personal invincibility. Students live in a community where everyone is experimenting with these new freedoms. Thus, college students are a population at risk.
Nationally, the majority of reported victims and offenders are of college age, with the rate of victimization highest among 16–19 year olds. Women between 20 and 24 years of age experience the second highest victimization rate.
What is a Sex Offense? Rape and Sexual Abuse
If a person engages in nonconsensual sexual intercourse due to physical force, coercion or threat—actual or implied—the act is considered rape in New York State. Sexual intercourse is defined as any penetration. A person who is mentally incapacitated, a minor, asleep, physically helpless or impaired due to drug or alcohol consumption, or unconscious is considered unable to consent. If sexual intercourse takes place without consent for any reason, it is considered rape, which is a felony in New York State. If convicted of rape in the first degree in the State of New York, the legal prison sentence ranges from six to 25 years.
If a man or woman is forced to engage in any form of sexual contact other than vaginal intercourse, under the circumstances mentioned above, it is considered sexual abuse. If convicted of sexual abuse in the first degree in New York State, the legal penalty ranges up to seven years. If penetration is involved (other than vaginal), it is considered sodomy, also a felony in New York State. If someone is found guilty of sodomy in the first degree in the State of New York, the legal penalty ranges from six to 25 years.
Sexual Assault and the Law
NYS Law contains the following legal provisions defining the crimes related to sexual assault:
Section 130.20: Sexual Misconduct. This offense includes sexual intercourse without consent and deviate sexual intercourse without consent. The penalty for violation of this section includes imprisonment for a definite period to be fixed by the court up to one year.
Section 130.25/.30/.35: Rape. This series of offenses includes sexual intercourse with a person incapable of consent because of the use of forcible compulsion or because the person is incapable of consent due to a mental defect, mental incapacity, or physical helplessness. This series of offenses further includes sexual intercourse with a person under the age of consent. The penalties for violation of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to exceed four years up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 25 years.
Section 130.40/.45/.50: Criminal Sexual Act. This series of offenses includes oral or anal sexual conduct with a person incapable of consent because of the use of forcible compulsion or because the person is incapable of consent due to a mental defect, mental incapacity, or physical helplessness. This series of offenses further includes oral or anal sexual conduct with a person under the age of consent. The penalties for violation of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to exceed four years up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 25 years.
Section 130.52: Forcible Touching. This offense involves the forcible touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person; or for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire. Forcible touching includes the squeezing, grabbing, or pinching of such other person’s sexual or other intimate parts. The penalty for violation of this section includes imprisonment for a period of up to one year in jail.
Section 130.55/.60/.65: Sexual Abuse. This series of offenses includes sexual contact with a person by forcible compulsion, or with a person who is incapable of consent due to physical helplessness, or due to the person being under the age of consent. The penalties for violation of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to exceed three months up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed seven years.
Section 130.65-a/.66/.671.70: Aggravated Sexual Abuse. This series of offenses occurs when a person inserts a finger or a foreign object in the vagina, urethra, penis or rectum of another person by forcible compulsion, when the other person is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless, or when the other person is under the age of consent. The level of this offense is enhanced if the insertion of a finger or foreign object causes injury to the other person. The penalties for violation of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to exceed seven years up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 25 years.
If you are sexually or otherwise assaulted on campus:
- Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
- Try to preserve all physical evidence, do not bathe, douche, or change your clothes. Contact the Police immediately (call 911 in an emergency, or use a campus emergency phone).
- Seek medical treatment for the following: physical injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy prevention, and collection/preservation of evidence crucial to pursuing criminal action.
Remember, assaults—sexual or otherwise—are crimes; they are not the victims’ fault. Victims have the right to pursue adjudication of crimes that occur on the Jefferson Community College Campus through criminal courts and/or through the College’s internal disciplinary process (under the Campus Code of Conduct). Security on campus is trained to assist with prosecution in both systems.
Where there is probable cause to believe the College’s regulations prohibiting sexual misconduct have been violated, the College will pursue strong disciplinary action. This discipline includes the possibility of suspension or dismissal from the College.
Jefferson Community College has a duty to protect its educational purpose by establishing standards of scholarship and conduct for its students. Under the Code of Student Conduct, sexual assault is considered under Section 1.3 - Physical Abuse of a Person, and under Section 1.9 - Violation of Federal, State, or local laws. The Code of Student Conduct strives to provide all parties with a sense of due process and procedural fair play.
A reasonable request to change a class schedule may be made if the accused is in the accuser’s class. The accuser and the accused shall be notified of the outcome of a campus disciplinary proceeding. Sexual assault is considered to be a serious offense and violators are subject to suspension and/or expulsion from the College.
During the disciplinary process, the victim’s rights are:
- To have a person or persons of the victim’s choice accompany the victim throughout the disciplinary hearing.
- To remain present during the entire proceeding.
- As established in state criminal codes, to be assured that his/her irrelevant past sexual history will not be discussed during the hearing.
- To make a “victim impact statement” and to suggest an appropriate penalty if the accused is found in violation of the code.
- To be informed immediately of the outcome of the hearing.
The College will make every effort to be responsive and sensitive to the victims of these serious crimes. Protection of the victim and prevention of continued trauma is the College’s priority. Assistance for any other personal or academic concerns will be reviewed and options provided.
Reporting a Sexual Assault
Any student who is a victim of a sex offense, forcible or non-forcible, is encouraged to immediately report the assault to both College authorities and law enforcement officials. A sexual assault victim is advised to report an incident to Campus Security Office, the Affirmative Action Officer, the Vice President for Students, or the Vice President of Administration & Finance.
Upon receiving a written complaint, an investigation regarding the incident will be initiated. The purpose of the investigation is to gather relevant facts regarding the incident and to determine whether or not there is sufficient basis for making a criminal complaint or charge under the Code of Student Conduct.
Persons who believe they have been sexually assaulted or who have been a victim of any kind of sex offense are also encouraged to file a criminal complaint with the Watertown Police Department. The preservation of criminal evidence is essential and time-sensitive to the successful prosecution of most sex offenses. A police report is needed in order to obtain a medical evidentiary examination should criminal prosecution occur at a later date.
If a victim so chooses, he/she may be assisted by College authorities in reporting the assault to proper law enforcement authorities. By making an incident report, a victim is not obligated to continue with legal or College disciplinary action.
Because sexual assault cases typically result in a felony charge, such cases are adjudicated through criminal court proceedings before disciplinary action is considered by the College unless, in the judgment of the President, a student’s presence on campus constitutes a danger to the safety of persons or property, at which point a student will be temporarily suspended pending further consideration by the College.
Counseling and Personal Support
A survivor of a sexual assault often needs professional counseling and personal support. Jefferson Community College is able to provide such counseling through the Advising, Career, and Transfer Center (ACT) located on the ground floor of the Jules Building.
Counselors are able to meet privately with a sexual assault survivor to help them through the trauma associated with such an event. Another source of assistance is through the Jefferson County Victim’s Assistance Center, 120 Arcade Street, Watertown, New York 13601 or the Victim Assistance Hotline 782-1855.
As part of the College’s philosophy of student development, educational programs to promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, and sex offenses are regularly presented to the campus community. The Advising, Career, and Transfer Center (ACT), Health Office, Student Activities Center, and Campus Security Office hold sessions each semester on various topics including personal safety awareness, rape, and sexual assault prevention, and the prevention of burglary and vandalism. Workshops, group presentations, and written materials are provided at orientation and in the Academic Planner each semester, focusing on community responsibilities and needs within the student living environment. Information on safety and security is provided to students and employees regularly through seminars, bulletins, and crime alerts, posters, brochures, and student newspapers.
Timely Warnings of Concerns of Campus Safety
The College will notify the campus community of the occurrence of serious crimes in a timely fashion. Examples of such crimes are criminal homicide, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, vehicle theft, or arson. Timely warnings will be made through electronic mail postings, physical postings on campus bulletin boards, and verbal announcements when appropriate.
Sexual Assault Prevention Strategies
Sexual assault is a serious crime that can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone, and students are cautioned that the JCC campus is not a crime-free zone. It is important that students take very seriously their own personal safety at all times.
- Use your head!
- Be alert! Walk with confidence and purpose.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Trust your instincts.
- Don’t let alcohol or drugs cloud your judgment.
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
- Never open your door to a stranger.
- Ask for identification of sales or service personnel.
- Be wary of isolated spots—apartment laundry rooms, underground garages, etc.
- Know your neighbors.
- Never enter a home alone when you see a door or window broken—call the police first.
- Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night.
- Wear clothes that give you freedom of movement.
- Be careful of anyone in a car asking directions.
- Have your keys ready before you reach your door, home, car, or office.
- Park in areas that are well lighted.
- If your car breaks down: lift hood, lock doors, and turn on flashers. If someone stops, ask him or her to call the police or a tow service for assistance.