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President Obama pressures universities to address sexual assault problem

When Pennsylvania parents send their children to college this fall, they may worry that their daughters, especially, will be changed forever by the trauma of sexual assault. Thankfully, high-level politicians are putting pressure on university officials across the country to lower the incidence of sex crimes on college campuses.

Facing pressure from President Obama to keep young female college students safe, university officials are looking for ways to deter sex offenders. Because a high number of rape cases reflect poorly on a university, officials may be likely to underreport the number of sex offenses that occur at their campus. Some rape cases are heard in campus court, which is largely secret and may enable universities to avoid reporting the incident.

It is possible that a larger student population makes it easier for people to commit sex crimes. At Penn State University’s main campus, for example, the number of reported sex offenses has increased steadily over the last few years. At Penn State’s smaller satellite campuses, on the other hand, there were virtually no reported offenses. Other large university campuses have reported similar increases in the number of rape cases reported, but it is possible that this may mean that victims are becoming more comfortable reporting sexual offenses.

Nevertheless, President Obama said there is room for improvement when it comes to reporting sex crimes on college campuses, where 20 percent of female students are assaulted at some point during their college career.

Anyone who has been accused of statutory rape, assault, or other sex crime may want to talk to a defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help his client reach the best possible outcome.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Obama targets campus rapes,” Nedra Pickler, Jan. 23, 2014

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