Campus sex crimes have made headlines across the country in recent years, nowhere more so than at Baylor University in Texas which is accused of covering up rape allegations by the football team.
In April, the Texas Senate passed a measure requiring school employees and student leaders to report any sex crimes on campus within 48 hours or face criminal charges.
The bill was SB 576 by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston. It passed the Senate by a 30-1 vote. The bill places new requirements on school employees.
It requires all school employees and the highest ranking members of student organizations to report any allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, family violence or stalking to the president or chief executive of a school.
The bill could bar all employees and students from delegating their duty to report to another person reported Courthouse News.
Student leaders who fail to comply with the regulations would face expulsion or suspension for at least a year. Employees face being charged with a Class B misdemeanor and termination if they fail to report sexual offenses. If employees deliberately concealed reporting an assault, they face a Class A misdemeanor, a fine of up to $4,000 and one year in state prison.
Huffman said these rules would be among the toughest in the country. She said:
“I realize these reporting requirements may be the most stringent in the country, but it is time we changed the culture on college campuses. This is totally unacceptable and Texas must lead the way on this issue.”
Some victim’s advocates claimed the bill was taking away the rights of victims to choose whether or not to have crimes reported and prosecuted.
The bill followed a scandal at Baylor University at Waco. A federal lawsuit was filed in January.
It claims that 31 players on Baylor’s football team committed more than 50 rapes from 2011 to 2014. The figure is significantly higher than admitted by university officials, raising allegations of a cover-up at Baylor.
Huffman worked with various advocacy groups, including the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault in working up the bill.
If you have been charged with sexual assault in Texas, you are likely to be facing a long period of incarceration. At the Medlin Law Firm, we vigorously defend sexual assaults. In some case, witness statements are unreliable or motivated by other factors.
Read more about sexual assault here, or call our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers today.