Alcohol- and Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault: A Survey of the Law

While the absence of laws covering the assault of a voluntarily intoxicated victim is often cited as a barrier to prosecuting sexual assault cases, the laws in all 58 U.S. jurisdictions allow for the prosecution of sexual assault cases in which the victim was voluntarily intoxicated. The language in some statutes, however, may not always include the assaultive conduct relevant to a specific case. Additionally, some sexual assault statutes do include an element requiring the victim’s intoxication to be caused by a perpetrator, without the victim’s knowledge, for the purpose of perpetrating a sexual assault. Because language among these statutes is not consistent and may not specifically refer to intoxicated victims, this Statutes in Review synthesizes the similarities and distinctions among the statutory language and summarizes AEquitas’ more comprehensive analysis of rape and sexual assault laws covering alcohol- and drug -facilitated sexual assault involving penetration in all jurisdictions in the country.


Witness Intimidation

We have developed two individual resources related to witness intimidation. One is a collection of state statutes that includes laws such as those expressly prohibiting witness intimidation, harassment, perjury, retaliation, bribery, false reporting,and tampering with witnesses or evidence.

The second is a compilation of case summaries provides insight into the dynamics and prosecution of witness intimidation, harassment, perjury, retaliation, bribery, false reporting,and tampering with witnesses or evidence.

Were You Sexually Harassed, Assaulted or Raped At Work? Here’s What Steps You Can Take

For victims who decide to report sexual harassment or assault at work, outcomes can be unclear. Every case is different. Workplace policies are different. Law is different by state. Some might be handled within the company. Some might need police involvement. Some might be brought to court, with civil and/or criminal implications. Lawyers say how victims report the harassment or assault matters greatly. If someone has forced you to have sex or perform sexual acts, that person likely faces criminal charges, said Jennifer Long, Chief Executive Officer of AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women. Same goes for anyone who has touched your breast, butt or genitals, undressed you or undressed in front of you without your permission. Some incidents might fall into civil cases, usually meaning victims are entitled to financial compensation. Those might include verbal sexual harassment.

Justice Delayed: Litigating Sexual Assault on Campus

The Saifullah Khan sexual assault case raises a critical question regarding how rarely and hesitantly Yale students — and college students at a national level — will report instances of potentially criminal sexual misconduct to the police.


Jennifer Long, Chief Executive Officer of AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence, told the News that unfortunately it can feel as though specialized sexual violence training or even gender-based filing at police departments is “seen as a luxury rather than a necessity in these cases.”


The idea behind delaying a sexual assault trial is controversial on both sides of the courtroom. Long told the News that the greatest source of delay tends to come from the defense strategically holding up the case. She explained that these trials deal with highly traumatic crimes, but that delays can amplify that stress and undermine the victim’s willingness to continue working with the prosecution.


Long told the News that she does not want to “sugarcoat” the process of going through prosecution as a victim of sexual assault, and leveled that the main strategy of the defense in sexual assault trials is to discredit the victim. Still, she added, she believes that the process of seeking justice in a court of law empowers victims regardless of the outcome and, by extension, makes the reform process of the courts a crucial one. “The main reform really is making sure defense attorneys don’t ask for unjustified delays — there are already laws in place that should prevent that — and making sure prosecutors prepare and argue against continuances that are just designed to delay a case. Another area [for improvement] is training around witness intimidation and the nuances of witness intimidation, and ensuring the system is looked at before a case even happens, to make sure intimidation is prevented.”

With Baton Rouge Violent Crime on Rise, Officials Hope New Grant Helps Combat Witness Intimidation

With violent crime on the rise in Baton Rouge, officials say the need has grown for a more comprehensive approach to combating witness intimidation. Three organizations — AEquitas, the Justice Management Initiative and the International Association of Chiefs of Police — will use almost $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to provide guidance and evaluate practices in three cities over the next two years. Baton Rouge, Boston and Baltimore received the awards.


Local agencies — including the Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and LSU researchers — will help develop and implement recommended strategies. Data collected throughout the duration of the grant will hopefully provide insight into effective strategies that could be used across the country, said John Wilkinson, an attorney advisor for AEquitas.


Wilkinson said some possible strategies could include better educating people about witness intimidation, helping victims take precautions and protect themselves without necessarily relocating away from their homes, prosecuting cases even when witnesses refuse to cooperate, and training law enforcement and courthouse staff on how to recognize and respond to intimidation when it does occur.

She’s the Judge These Larry Nassar Victims Needed

In general, judges thank or comfort victims when they speak but withhold their opinion until the end. At that point, the judge will offer their overall thoughts on the defendant and victims and deliver a sentence, Slotnick said.


“What (Nassar) did was so reprehensible and so disgusting that everyone shares the judge’s sentiment,” he added. “However, it’s unusual that prior to actually rendering a sentencing, the judge is actually expressing her opinion.”


But judges showing empathy for victims is “totally appropriate,” according to Jennifer Long, the chief executive officer at AEquitas, an organization that offers resources to prosecutors in cases of sexual and domestic violence. “I don’t think that’s any way in contradiction to the rules of the judge. It demonstrates that the judge is understanding of the victim’s suffering. [It] makes a huge difference to victims to think about individually getting up and making a statement.”

A Grandfather Molested His Granddaughter ‘Over and Over.’ So Why Isn’t He Going to Prison, an Outraged Mother Asks

During the state of Iowa’s last fiscal year, 37 people were convicted of lascivious acts with a child, the same crime to which Hilpipre has pleaded guilty. Probation was ordered in 21 cases (57 percent). In 16 cases, offenders received probation and a prison sentence that may have been suspended by a judge.


Jennifer Long, a former prosecutor who co-founded AEquitas, a national organization to improve the quality of justice in sexual violence cases, said incest is as traumatic to victims as other high-level cases involving sexual violence.


“A prolonged crime, even if it doesn’t leave physical injury, leaves deep emotional and psychological trauma,” she said. While prosecutors always worry about the effect that testifying at trial can have on a child victim, there are ways to “provide a safe court environment,” she said.

SCSU Training Students, Staff on How to Prevent Sexual Assault

Students, victim advocates and law enforcement officials attended the presentation about stalking that is part of the CSCU system’s efforts to prevent sexual assault and dating violence an all 17 campuses. “It just shows that Connecticut has seen and identified that this is an important issue,” Jennifer Landhuis, the director of the Stalking Prevention, Awareness and Resource Center, said. Landhuis visits college campuses across the country. “Helping people understand how stalking intersects with the crime of domestic violence and of sexual assault but also helping people understand that it doesn’t have to intersect with those crimes,” Landhuis said.

How To Convict a Rapist

Sexual assaults are the most difficult kind of crimes to prosecute: Of the 31 percent of cases that are reported to police, less than 2 percent result in convictions, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. One of the biggest reasons these numbers are so low is that, despite the complexity of sexual assault trials, lawyers are not required to go through any specialized training before handling them. Many prosecutors throw out cases, mistreat complainants and botch lawsuits in court because they don’t understand victim behavior.

“Everyone thinks they are doing the right thing,” says Jennifer Long, AEquitas’ CEO. “And they might not realize that while some practices in their jurisdiction are really good, others are not good.”

Experts: Wuerl, Zubik Could Have Legal Exposure After Grand Jury Report on Abuse

The time lag and related legal hurdles are sparking national debate over how best to hold abusers, and their enablers, accountable. Some urge eliminating statutes of limitations on prosecuting crimes that were systematically concealed. Others contend the legal system already allows consequences for long-ago abuse and cover-ups. [ . . . ] Clergy are among those required to tell public authorities about known or suspected child abuse. But the mandate wasn’t as explicit before amendments made in 2012 to a state law, said Jonathan Kurland, an attorney adviser with AEquitas, a legal advisory group in Washington, D.C. Depending on how legislation takes shape, the General Assembly could grant survivors a two-year window to bring civil litigation against attackers and their enablers, no matter when the abuse happened. Lawmakers also are weighing whether to scrub the statute of limitations on criminal charges, which now must be filed by the time a victim is 50 years old.