Hannah Graham was a University of Virginia student who vanished after going out to dinner and two college parties with friends. The man charged with her murder was a suspect in two other sexual assault cases on college campuses, but was never convicted. In response to the amount of sexual assault on college campuses, the Commonwealth of Virginia passed a series of sexual assault laws meant to protect sexual assault victims on college campuses and prevent further sexual assaults. These new laws expand how and when police may collect DNA evidence from a suspect. It also lists nine more adult misdemeanors under which a convicted adult must provide DNA to the state’s data bank upon conviction. These laws are in intended to help catch those committing assaults on campus.
The New Sexual Assault Laws
In addition to the sexual assault laws that expand DNA collection, Virginia also passed the Hannah Graham Law. This law requires that when a sexual assault investigation takes place at a school, a police officer and local prosecutor must participate. Prior to these new laws, Title IX required schools to promptly review and investigate sexual assault on campus. The legislature is hoping that by including law enforcement and local prosecutors, it will provide added pressure to solve sexual assault cases.
Another law on college campuses is Virginia’s Scarlet Letter Law, which requires Virginia colleges to place a mark on a student’s transcript if he or she has left the school or was forced to leave because of a campus sexual assault investigation. There are certain times when a school will be required to remove the notation from the student’s record. Those that oppose this law feel that it will not stop those that are looking to prey on students, and fear that these laws will do more harm than good.
Consequences for the Innocent
Virginia’s new sexual assault laws have not garnered support from everyone. Those that do not support the laws feel that they could have negative effects on those who are not serious offenders or who are innocent.
Have You Been Charged with Sexual Assault?
If you have recently been charged with sexual assault on a college campus then you need an attorney who has experience working with sexual assault cases and will make a concerted effort to stay up to date on Virginia’s expanding sexual assault laws that involve college campuses. Criminal Defense Attorney Jad Sarsour has worked to prepare defenses for those charged with sexual assault on a college campus. Contact our firm at 703-385-6868, so we can assist you with your legal issue today.