Philadelphia Student Sexual Misconduct Lawyer

College campuses use different definitions and policies to police sexual misconduct. However, they are all bound by the Pennsylvania state law and the federal law as far as sexual crime definitions. The university policy may be stricter or more targeted towards student-based behavior. For example, the University of Pennsylvania defines sexual violence as “a term that identifies a range of behaviors in which an act of a sexual nature is perpetrated against an individual without consent or when an individual is unable to give consent.”

There are other types of gender-based misconduct, such as harassment, dating violence, stalking, and invasion of privacy that are not physical acts of sexual violence but are also prohibited by law and the university policy.

College campuses take sexual misconduct seriously. Those who have been accused of sexual misconduct could face severe consequences if convicted. If you have been accused of committing a sexual offense on a college campus, seek help from a seasoned student defense attorney. A Philadelphia student sexual misconduct lawyer could help you handle disciplinary actions at school as well as any criminal sanctions.

What is Sexual Misconduct?

The University of Pennsylvania states that sexual violence may be committed by physical force, violence or threat, coercion or intimidation, ignoring the objections of another person, accusing another person, intoxication or impairment with alcohol or drugs, and taking advantage of another person’s intoxication, incapacitation, unconsciousness, state of intimidating, helplessness, or inability to consent. Some examples include the unwanted touching of the person’s breasts, chest, buttock, inner thigh, genitalia, forced penetration, unwanted kissing, refusing to use a condom, sexual contact with someone who is incapacitated, or threats to do any of the above.

A tenacious Philadelphia student sexual misconduct lawyer could help the accused understand the charges and potential penalties of a conviction.

Affirmative Consent

There is an increased focus on affirmative consent by many universities. Affirmative consent is the standard required form of consent between partners. The difference is affirmative consent is a signal or verbal yes to sexual content and not just the implicit agreement by action or agreement by silence. The Universities policies are moving towards not inferring consent from passivity or lack of resistance. The universities and colleges remind their students that consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, intimidation, isolation, or force, and that agreement given under those conditions does not constitute consent in the university’s eyes.

Common Forms of Sexual Misconduct

In Pennsylvania, there is a list of sexual crimes under the criminal code, starting with Section 3124.1, sexual assault. A person commits a felony of the second degree when they engage in sexual intercourse or deviant sexual intercourse with the victim without the victim’s consent.

Sexual misconduct is a large umbrella term covering many elements such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual battery, rape, pornography charges such as revenge porn and other types of behavior that might have a sexual nature or element to it, such as stalking. Even cyberbullying or harassment might have some sort of sexual misconduct element. This term is used by campuses, most often, and the law will use the legal definitions of each crime.

Statutory Sexual Assault

A person commits a felony of the second degree when the person engages in sexual intercourse with a victim who is under the age of 16, and that person is four years older but less than eight years older than them, or eight years older but less than 11 years older than them. A person commits a felony of the first degree when the person engages in sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of 16, and that person is 11 or more years older than the victim.


The charge of rape is covered by Section 3121. The law states rape occurs when by threat of force or compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person’s reasonable resolution or someone who is unconscious when the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring and the person is substantially impaired, the complainant’s power to appraise or control their conduct by administering or employing (without the knowledge of the complainant) drugs, intoxicants, or other means to prevent resistance, or if someone suffers from a mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent. That would be a first-degree felony.

Indecent Assault

Indecent assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Aggravated indecent assault is when the person engages in penetration of the genitals or anus of a victim with a part of the person’s body by any person other than good-faith, medical, hygienic, or law enforcement procedures. If the offender does so under various circumstances and legal sub-sections, that would aggravate this crime and make it into a second-degree felony.

Consequences for Sexual Misconduct

Possible consequences of being found responsible for sexual misconduct on campus are disciplinary probation, expulsion, and separate criminal charges that are held apart from the school repercussions. If the misconduct is not something rising to the level of expulsion or suspension, there may be more restorative or rehabilitative sanctions such as counseling, educational activities, and community service. Fines also are possible.

Suspension and expulsion, although they are serious academically, are not the same as criminal exposure and a criminal record of sexual crimes. Sexual crimes can carry years in jail and may land someone on the sexual offender registry, which can last for a decade, 25 years, or for the rest of the person’s life. Also, someone could end up with a permanent criminal record of sexual misconduct that comes up when they apply for jobs or further education.

Speak to a diligent sexual misconduct lawyer in Philadelphia to learn about the consequences of sexual misconduct and to begin building a defense.

Let a Philadelphia Student Sexual Misconduct Attorney Help

A student defense attorney can go through the allegations to see what criminal exposure the person might have, guide them through the school disciplinary process, talk to authorities on the student’s behalf, and help them prepare for formal hearings.

A Philadelphia student sexual misconduct lawyer can help gather evidence to help arm the student with material and prepare them for how to best fight against the charges that are lodged against them by the school. Call today to schedule a consultation.