Early Sunday morning over the long Labor Day holiday weekend it was reported that a sexual assault had occurred in McDonel Hall on the MSU (Michigan State University) campus. According to MSU police, the incident took place between 10:30 Saturday evening and 2:30 Sunday morning. The alleged sexual assault was reported at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Authorities at MSU called in the special victims unit to investigate the incident. According to the university, the SVU is referring to the situation as a “non-stranger investigation.” Investigations were ongoing as of last news reports. Essentially, in a “non-stranger” situation the alleged victim and perpetrator knew each other, or were at least familiar with one another to some extent.
Captain Doug Monette of the MSU police department said that “These types of crimes will not be tolerated on campus. They are a violation of Michigan state law as well as MSU policy on relationship violence and sexual misconduct.”
Very few details about the alleged sexual assault have been released pending the completion of the investigation. Given the time frame in which the incident occurred and the fact it was late Saturday evening on a holiday weekend, could it have been that a party was going on and students were celebrating the holiday? Parties often involve alcohol and in some cases marijuana or other drugs. When over-indulging, it isn’t unusual for people to lose their inhibitions and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. This could be the case either way – the alleged perpetrator might have taken advantage of the victim, something he/she would otherwise never do, or the alleged victim could have willingly engaged in sexual activity and regretted it after the fact.
False accusations are not rare in sexual assault cases. Depending on whose statistics you look at, two to 8 percent of rape accusations are false. These statistics were taken from 1996 FBI reports, so over a 20 year period the numbers could be far different today. Even so, 8% is a fairly high number – and no individual should have to face prosecution or severe punishment for a crime he or she did not commit.
In 2015 crimewatchdaily.com ranked MSU as the most dangerous campus in the country using data from 2013. During this time period the statistics indicated that in addition to other offenses including burglaries and motor vehicle thefts, there were 27 forcible sexual assaults. This was not the number of prosecuted crimes, but alleged crimes.
Regardless of the circumstances, anyone accused of sexual assault must consult with a skilled defense attorney. Those who are falsely accused must obtain legal guidance, as the punishment for those convicted is severe and may include prison time, probation, a lifetime of being labeled a sex offender, and more.