For several years, researchers have been fiercely debating how many campus rapes are committed by serial offenders. A 2002 study based on surveys of 1,882 college men and published in Violence and Victims, an academic journal, found that as many as 63 percent of those who admitted to behaviors that fit the definition of rape or attempted rape said they had engaged in those behaviors more than once.
But in 2015, a study of 1,642 men at two different colleges was published in JAMA Pediatrics and found that while a larger number of men admitted to behaviors that constituted rape, a smaller percentage of them, closer to 25 percent, were repeat offenders.
The difference could affect how universities approach rape investigations and prevention. For example, repeat cases raise questions of whether universities should be faster to remove students from campus after accusations.
“There are repeat offenders who seek out victims and will do this time and time again with impunity because there is no punishment,” said Annie E. Clark, a co-founder of End Rape on Campus, a nonprofit organization that works to assist those who have been raped and to prevent campus sexual violence. She added, “Whatever the number is, it’s way, way too high.”
A few recent cases, and the lawsuits they have spawned — like the one at Kansas State — have again put a spotlight on repeat campus rapes, and the questions they leave about whether something could have been done. Many university administrators say they are hampered in sexual assault investigations by women who are reluctant to identify their assailants or press charges.Then frankly, that should be the end of the case. If the victim won't press charges in the criminal justice system, with trained law enforcement, investigators, prosecutors and judges handling these serious charges, the universities should be exempt from action at that point.
As I've repeatedly said for years on this blog: there is no one on a university campus (not in the law school, not in the legal department, not in the EOO offices, no one) who is trained sufficiently to deal with seriousness of these kinds of allegations/charges.
And now we have "campus sexual assault investigators" coming forward and admitting that very thing: they should not be in the position of having to deal with these kinds of crimes because, well, they're CRIMES and thus out of the purvey of a layperson.
Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, a former Kansas State University sexual assault investigator, said she urged the college to be more aggressive in handling sexual assault complaints, ultimately reporting the university to the United States Education Department. “It makes me feel terrible that we might have been able to prevent it,” she said.
She and others at Kansas State say the problem was that the university had taken the position that it was not responsible for investigating accusations of rape in fraternity houses because they are off campus.
In her complaint to the Education Department, Ms. Dempsey-Swopes said she was ordered to “stall” investigating a rape accusation at a fraternity house because the university did not want to be responsible. Also, the departing president of the university’s Interfraternity Council, Zach Lowry, said the university referred sexual assault complaints involving fraternities to his organization without investigation.
“When we get these, they’re pretty disturbing,” said Mr. Lowry, a senior political science major from Stockton, Kan. “When we give them to our judicial board, they’re students. They’re not trained to handle investigations.”