Houston Campus Sexual Assault Lawyer

College should be a safe place for young adults to learn, explore, and grow as individuals. However, that isn’t always the case. Some of the most common sex crimes on college campuses today include rape and unwanted touching or fondling. Sexual assault can devastate a young person’s life, triggering feelings of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other life-long mental health conditions. Campus sexual violence can also lead to poor performance in school, athletics, and work, and it can impact future relationships.

At Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs, our Houston personal injury lawyers have decades of experience helping victims of criminal actions use the civil court system to obtain compensation for their injuries and a measure of justice for the trauma they have endured. We have already recovered more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for the people we represent.

Contact our legal team today to book a free consultation. We’re ready to listen.

Types of Sexual Assault Involving College Students

Sexual assault is a broad term that refers to any form of unwanted or nonconsensual sexual contact or behavior. Although most people associate sexual assault with rape, numerous types of unwanted acts can fall under the category of sexual assault. Examples of common college campus sex crimes involving students can include:

  • Rape
  • Date rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
  • Forcing someone to perform sex acts such as oral sex

Consent is a huge factor in sexual assault cases. Texas law outlines numerous situations that legally define the nature of consent for sexual assault. All-too-common college nonconsensual sexual acts can include these situations:

  • An individual is unconscious or physically unable to resist sexual acts.
  • An individual uses violence or physical force to compel another to submit to sexual acts.
  • An individual uses force or threats to compel another person to submit or participate in a sexual act.
  • An individual intentionally impairs another person by administering any substance without the other person’s knowledge.

If you are sexually assaulted on a college campus, report the incident to law enforcement immediately. Although physically and emotionally challenging, reporting the crime allows the authorities to collect the evidence to build a case against the perpetrator.

Rape Statistics on College Campuses

Sexual assault is becoming a widespread problem across college campuses in Texas, and rape stats on college campuses are alarming. One report indicates that Texas State, with campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock, saw an increase in the number of rapes by 135 percent. Texas State reported at least 40 rapes in one year, 38 occurring on campus, including residential facilities. That is double the number of sexual assaults reported the year before.

In the same time frame, the Sexual Assault Resources Center also reported a rise in hotline calls from students in the Bryan-College State area and Texas A&M University. The organization told local news affiliates they had seen a 43 percent increase in hotline calls in a recent year. In years past, UT Austin was named the institution with the highest percentage of rape among college women who are undergraduates.

One of the most shocking campus crime statistics involving sexual assault cases is how often the perpetrator knows the victim. Additionally, some statistics indicate that repeat offenders commit nearly 90 percent of campus assaults.

Is the College Liable?

Is a college legally liable for campus sexual assaults? The answer depends on the circumstances of the situation. The Clery Act is a consumer protection law requiring colleges and universities that receive federal funding to disclose information about specific reported crimes transparently. The act also specifies that colleges must protect the confidentiality of victims of crimes who come forward. Failing to comply with these Clery Act laws can mean an institution could be held liable following a sexual assault.

More specifically, colleges and universities can be liable for sexual assault when they violate Title IX laws. Title IX protects students from harassment, abuse, and assault by other students, faculty, or employees. Several high-profile civil cases have involved colleges and universities held liable for mishandling sexual assault cases and complaints.

How Can Filing a Civil Case Help You Seek Justice and Healing?

A civil case is separate from a criminal case. In a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof is lower, and a victim can initiate a case instead of a state prosecutor. The civil court does not determine the perpetrator’s guilt or innocence, the civil court determines only if it is more likely than not that a person committed an act. If the answer is yes, the result is a civil judgment, money, compensating victims for their financial losses and suffering.

Beyond the criminal justice system, a civil case can provide a sexual assault victim with a measure of justice and compensation for the physical and emotional injuries they suffered because of someone else. It is a way of taking matters into your own hands to hold someone accountable for their actions, and potentially preventing it from happening to someone else

Potential Compensation and Recovery in a Sexual Abuse Case

The value of a sexual assault civil case is highly fact-specific. Sexual assault victims may be able to pursue compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Mental health treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

In some situations, a person can also recover punitive damages for college sexual assaults. This compensation does not correlate to a victim’s financial losses. Punitive damages are a monetary punishment for malicious or egregious behavior that only a jury may award.

Statute of Limitations to File a Sexual Assault Personal Injury Lawsuit

It can be hard to come forward following a traumatic sexual assault. Many survivors feel guilt, fear, and shame. While challenging, finding the courage to move forward can help survivors heal and receive justice. Texas law limits the time you have to file a sexual assault personal injury lawsuit to five years from the incident date if you were an adult at the time of the assault. If you were under 17 when the assault took place, you may have 10-20 years from the date of your 18th birthday to file suit.

Contact Our Houston Sexual Abuse Lawyers for Help

It takes courage and strength to come forward after surviving sexual assault. The compassionate Houston sexual assault lawyers at Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs are here to support you and advocate for your rights, pursuing meaningful compensation so you can focus on healing.

If you are ready to share your story, we are ready to listen. Contact our Houston office today for a free and confidential consultation.