DRAFT POLICY SVP

REPORTING SEXUAL ASSAULT   FOR REVIEW & DISCUSSION PURPOSES ONLY

I.  Policy

Students, faculty, and staff have a right to an environment free from any form of sexual offense, both forcible and non-forcible. Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary prohibits members of the campus community or anyone on property leased, owned or controlled by the Seminary to commit acts or threatened acts of sexual violence.  All forms of sexual violence and attempts to commit such acts are considered to be serious misconduct and may result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or termination of employment. In addition, such acts violate federal, state and local laws, and perpetrators of such acts may be subject to criminal prosecution. 

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary is committed to the education of students, faculty, and staff about sexual violence, the prevention of sexual assaults involving members of the campus community, and to the provision of an appropriate response when a sexual assault occurs.

II.  Sexual Violence Defined

Sexual violence is defined as threats or deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature, which is forced, coerced and/or without consent [1]. Such consent may be withdrawn at any time; without regard to activity preceding the withdrawal of consent. This includes but is not limited to rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, sexual touching, or any conduct of a sexual nature which threatens or endangers a person’s mental or physical health or safety, or the well-being of any person by a person(s) known or unknown to the victim.

Sexual violence occurs when a person is forced into sexual contact without consent.  It is a crime of power, committed to offend and demean the victim and can be violent, involving weapons or psychological pressure.  Sexual violence can happen to anyone, male or female; anytime, day or night; anyplace, at home, school or anywhere. The perpetrator could be anyone: acquaintance, date, friend, spouse, relative or stranger.

III. Legal Definitions

Rape is defined as forced sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal) that is perpetrated against the will of the victim. The assailant may be a stranger or someone known to the victim. The type of force may include physical violence, coercion, or threat of harm. Charges of rape also may be considered if the sexual offense involves penetration by a foreign object.

The legal definition of rape, according to Title 18 PA.C.S. 3121, is as follows: "A person commits a felony of the first degree when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person . . . (1) by forcible compulsion; (2) by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution; (3) who is unconscious; (4) who is so mentally deranged or deficient that such person is incapable of consent." The crime is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment or fine of $25,000 or both.

For the purpose of this policy, a person is not capable of giving consent when under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering substances or any substances that physically incapacitate the victim.

Under the Pennsylvania Law, specifically Title 18: Crimes Code, there is a multiplicity of sexual violence crimes other than rape, including:

  • Indecent assault, 18 PA.C.S. § 3126.
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, 18 PA.C.S. § 3123.  
  • Sexual assault, 18 PA.C.S. § 3124.1.
  • Statutory sexual assault, 18 PA.C.S.§ 3122.1.
  • Aggravated indecent assault, 18 PA.C.S. § 3125.
  • Indecent exposure; 18 PA.C.S. § 7.

For the full legal definition of these laws, click here.

IV. Reporting Procedures

Anyone who believes a sexual offense may have occurred is strongly encouraged to report the matter promptly and preserve any evidence intact. Students, Faculty or Staff, who believe they have been sexually assaulted, may seek assistance by contacting any of the following: the Safety Office, Deans of Men and/or any hospital or other medical facility. Employees should contact the Director of Safety Services or the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Operations.  A victim is free to bring charges through the College system and the criminal system simultaneously; however, the two processes are separate.

Any individual, who feels that a sexual assault complaint did not receive prompt and equitable response, after pursing the procedures previously described, should contact the Office of Human Resources at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

V.  Rights of Complainants

Persons who make a complaint of sexual violence are entitled to the range of rights listed in the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) and the following general rights:

  • The option to notify law enforcement;
  • The option to have another member of the campus community present during interviews that are part of a campus initiated investigation;
  • To be notified of counseling and support services available;
  • To be notified of options to change academic, living, or work arrangements.

It should also be understood that (as with any crime) if charges of a sexual offense are prosecuted, criminal penalties could result as well as sanctions imposed by the Seminary. Pursuant to law in any campus disciplinary proceeding, all parties (victim and accused) are informed of the outcome of their case, including any sanctions.

VI. Criminal Charges

Assault or harassment charges can be filed with the police and/or the County District Attorney. Such action may result in possible arrest and trial.

VII. Protection From Abuse Order (PFA)

The PFA is a special form of restraining order for victims of relationship/domestic violence. You are eligible if you have been assaulted or threatened with physical force by an intimate partner or family member. The PFA also has a clause for stalking [2] situations.  No arrest is made unless the order is violated.

Protection From Abuse (“PFA”) orders are handled by the Prothonatary’s Office, which is located on the first floor of the Montgomery County Court House. The Prothonatary’ Office will provide the appropriate paperwork and further directions and can be reached at (610) 278-3660.

VIII. Confidentiality

The right to confidentiality of all members of the campus community will be respected, insofar as possible. All counselor(s), all clergy, and Health Center personnel will respect confidentiality and anonymity as dictated by their professions and, accordingly, will seek to maintain confidentiality to the extent permitted by law.

Campus Safety Officers, while not bound by the same professional obligation of confidentiality, will honor requests made of them to the extent permitted by law. If victims agree to have their names released or if they opt to press charges, information about the incident and the names of the accusers and the accused will be shared with the appropriate law enforcement agency and the County District Attorney's Office. While some victims may not wish to have their names released and or to press charges, the Seminary cannot guarantee confidentiality if the release of such information is mandated by the legal process.

The incident also will be counted for statistical reporting purposes as required by law, however, names and other identifying information will be omitted. Except as set forth above and as necessary to assure adequate care for the student involved, all campus offices will seek to maintain confidentiality.

IX. Policy Against Retaliation

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary expressly prohibits retaliation against faculty, staff, or students who in good faith, make reports of violations of this policy. In addition, knowingly and intentionally making a false report of a violation of this policy is prohibited. Members of the campus community who take adverse action against someone who reports a violation of this policy, intimidates, threatens or otherwise engages in retaliation is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of their employment or expulsion from the Seminary.

X.  Programs

Sexual assault awareness and prevention programming will be made available throughout the academic year. The programming will be conducted in conjunction with the Deans of Men and the Safety Department and will include:

  • A discussion of sexual violence.
  • A discussion of consent, including an explanation that the victim is not at fault.
  • A discussion of drug and alcohol-facilitated sexual violence. Information relating to risk education and personal protection.
  • Information on where and how to get assistance, including the importance of medical treatment and evidence collection, and how to report sexual violence to campus authorities and local law enforcement.
  • The possibility of pregnancy and transmission of sexual diseases.
  • Introduction of members of the educational community from:  Campus Security and local law enforcement; Campus health center, women's center and rape crisis center and; Campus counseling service or any service responsible for psychological counseling and student affairs.
  • Lectures, institutional activities and videos and other educational materials related to sexual violence prevention and awareness will be provided for the duration of the school year for new students.

XI.  Complaint Filing Process

In the event of an alleged sexual assault on campus, one of the following procedures may occur:

  • If the complaint is against a student, the person filing the complaint should contact the Dean of Men. The campus judicial system is outlined in the student handbook. The Dean of Men will assist any member of the Seminary community in filing internal charges against a student within the student conduct board system.
  • If the complaint is against a member of the faculty or staff, the person filing the complaint should contact the Director of Human Resources or the Vice-President of Finance and Operations.
  • Any community member may file a report of a sexual assault with campus Safety Officers. Filing the report does not require the complainant to prosecute through external criminal justice system and/or internal judicial system.

These procedures are designed to ensure equal opportunity for both accuser and the accused. During any hearing, both the accuser and the accused may also present witnesses and be assisted by members of the Seminary community.

Complaints of sexual assault will be responded to promptly and equitably. The right to confidentiality of all members of the Seminary community will be respected, insofar as possible. Retaliation against individuals bringing complaints of sexual assault is specifically prohibited.

Possible sanctions for students found guilty of sexual assault including rape, acquaintance rape, or other forcible or non-forcible sex offenses may include: possible transfer of residence, removal of residence privileges on campus, restricted access to specified buildings, events or areas of the campus, suspension or dismissal from the Seminary. Possible sanctions for a faculty or staff member found guilty of sexual assault may include transfer of position, restricted access to specific buildings, events or areas of campus, suspension without pay, or termination of employment.

After reporting a sexual assault, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary will change a student victim's academic or living situation after an alleged sexual offense, if the changes are requested by the victim and are reasonably available. The student may seek assistance from the Dean of Men or the Vice Rector.

Students will be notified of existing on and off-campus counseling, mental health or other student services that are available for victims of sexual offenses.

XII.     Resources

 

Montgomery County Crisis Hotlines

 

 

Sexual Violence Hotline

 

610-277-5200

                        Toll Free 888-521-0983
Child Abuse  800-932-0313
Children & Youth, Office of  Crime 610-278-5800
Domestic Violence Hotlines  800-773-2424
Elder Abuse  800-773-2424
Protection  from Abuse Orders 610-278-3360
Rape Crisis Hotline  610-277-5200
Victim's Assistance Unit- District  610-277-5200
Attorney’s Office  610-278-3144
Victim Services Center  610-278-3144
Women's Center of  Montgomery County  800-773-2424
PA Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) 800-563-6399

 


[1] For purposes of this policy, Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity and is given by clear words or actions. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of resistance alone. Furthermore, consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity and the existence of a current or previous dating, marital, and/or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent to additional sexual activity. Assent shall not constitute consent if it is given by a person who because of youth, disability, intoxication or other condition is unable to lawfully give his or her consent.
[2] Stalking is a crime in Pennsylvania. There are two basic elements to the crime: The stalker must complete at least two acts of un wanted behavior, no matter how close or far apart in time they are, and the victim must experience reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or substantial emotional distress. The County District Attorney makes the final decision to file criminal charges in criminal cases, including stalking charges.