Miltenberg: “Many Sexual Assault ‘Perpetrators’ Deserve a Government Apology,” Orlando Sentinel


A male UCF student spotted a female acquaintance walking through campus one day. He gave her a hug. He thought it was harmless. She did not and alerted UCF’s Title IX office. “He was brought up on sexual assault charges,” said attorney Andrew Miltenberg, who represented the student … It began in 2011 with a “Dear Colleague” letter from the Obama Administration’s Department of Education to universities that receive federal funding. The letter recommended new guidelines. If they weren’t followed, colleges risked losing federal dollars. The motive was good. They wanted to make it less horrifying for victims of sexual assault to come forward. But the guidelines gave little thought to the accused. … Title IX hearings can’t send you to jail, but sexual assault is a life-altering charge. … “If you’re suspended for sexual misconduct, you’re essentially branded a rapist or sexual predator,” Miltenberg said. What’s shocking is the ongoing resistance to changing the system. The Trump Administration rescinded the “Dear Colleague” guidelines in 2017 and has been working with Congress to come up with new ones. Among the recommendations are allowing representatives of the accused question the accuser. It’s a vital part of due process, which is the foundation of our legal system. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the reforms show “utter contempt for survivor justice by making schools unwelcoming and unsafe.” Nobody wants that, of course. What we all want is a system that’s fair to both the accused and the accuser.

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