The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 8th, 2014
Earlier this week, the University of Florida suspended its backup quarterback after a female student accused him of sexually assaulting her on the campus. In another high-profile case, it was reported late last month that the suspect in the possible abduction of a missing University of Virginia student had twice earlier been accused of sexually assaulting students at separate colleges.
Few allegations are more serious than those of rape and sexual assault. Police have to conduct interviews, collect evidence, and decide whether probable cause exists for a person to be arrested, charged, and prosecuted. Because the behavior that led to the complaint often occurs in private, involves alcohol or drugs, and relies on differing interpretations of consent, even the low legal standard of "probable cause" is sometimes difficult to achieve.