Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Sexual Assault at USC

Posted on: April 20, 2009 at 7:13 a.m.

Sexual assault in Los Angeles is a challenging crime, Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys regularly defend men and women in all walks of life who are charged with this crime. In Los Angeles, sexual assault can lead to years in prison, a life of shame and other consequences. Colleges in Los Angeles are, unfortunately, full of sexual assault accusations.

University of Southern Californias Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity has been suspended while Los Angeles police investigate as many as three claims of sexual assault by women who went to a party at the fraternity house this past Wednesday. One 19 year-old student told investigating police officers that she passed out from drinking while at the party and awoke to find herself partially undressed. The student believed she had been molested. Los Angeles police are currently looking for additional evidence and witnesses. Claims such as this are fairly common on college campuses, but they should never be taken lightly.

Sexual assault is usually defined as unlawful sexual touching, whether by force, restraint or intoxication that is unwanted by the victim, or upon someone physically or mentally disabled. A conviction for a sexual assault charge can be punished by up to one year in county jail, probation, fines and lifetime registration with Californias sex offender registry. Sex crimes in California are particularly serious because of the frequent requirement to register with the states sex offender registry, which is online and available for the general public to access. Anyone from a neighbor to a landlord to a potential boss can look you up and see exactly what crime you were convicted of. In that manner, sex crimes like sexual assault can follow you around well after you have completed whatever punishment a judge has handed down to you.

That is why finding an experienced criminal defense lawyer is so important if you have been charged with a sex crime. A strong criminal defense attorney knows that sex offense cases often hinge on consent, lack of witnesses and insufficient evidence. The right lawyer will look tirelessly through the body of evidence against you to see if any of it is inadmissible in court and fight hard to help you defend your good reputation.

If you have been charged with sexual assault, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Their combined 50 years of courtroom experience is exactly what you need on your side when your reputation and even your freedom are at stake.

Tagged as: sex crime accusations


Anjelica Sarmiento (UCLA) on June 12, 2009 at 7:17 p.m. wrote:

I strongly feel that the fraternity in this case should be held liable for the actions that took place on its premises. While it may very well have been an outsider who actually assaulted the student, it is the responsibility of the fraternity to regulate its guests, and unless the culprit is positively identified as someone NOT associated with the fraternity, then the responsibility shifts to the fraternity, who should, either way, be making strident effort to determine the perpetrator. I am aware that the students put themselves at risk in such an environment, but no reasonable individual would enter a place where he/she believes an assault is likely to occur. As a result, it becomes the duty of the fraternity to ensure against such criminal action.

Rachel Franzoia on June 11, 2009 at 10:37 p.m. wrote:

After looking further into the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, it is astonishing how frequently it occurs. The Department of Justice reported that one in five women will be sexually assaulted during their time in college. However, a majority of these crimes go unreported, making it difficult to stop offenders and to deter potential offenders. The DOJ also indicated that most of these incidents involve alcohol, rather than date rape drugs. I don't know what path needs to be taken to achieve this goal, but I believe that it is vital to encourage victims of sexual assault to report their attack. It is also important that our society overcome the notion of 'blaming the victim,' which in my opinion, prevents many individuals from ever reporting their assault. If sexual offenders were more frequently caught and prosecuted, I believe that it would help to make this scary problem less rampant.

Samantha Simchowitz on June 2, 2009 at 1:58 a.m. wrote:

These alleged crimes certainly register close to the heart. Unfortunately Ms. Caswell's contention that this is not an occurrence at UCLA is false, I am aware of several similar situations. While sexual crimes without direct DNA evident (and even so the potential claim of consensual sex) or credible witness testimony are very difficult to prosecute. In planning to go onto Law school myself, these are the very types of crimes that lead me to believe that a criminal defense attorney would be the wrong section of the profession for me. I certainly agree that everyone guilty or not guilty is entitled to a defense, I think specifically in rape case or even more so date rape or rape with intoxication involved is a difficult thing to swallow. As a defense attorney, i would imagine that you have to constantly put the law and its malleability first and foremost, because I'm not sure I would ever be capable of pushing for the acquittal of a man who I believed was a rapist, or worse a murder. Would a case like this be something you would be comfortable taking? Or even worse the case previously discussed on the blog about the father who sexually abused his daughter for 20 years and had three children with her, proceeding to stab her in the chest. How do you remove your morality from cases like these to act in the best interest of your clients?

Kathryn Caswell, UCLA on May 19, 2009 at 6:43 p.m. wrote:

I understand the charges, but I have a few comments: If these 17 girls were willingly taking and sending photos of themselves to others then why are they being charges with pornography? Its their private and personal phones ad if they are making conscious decisions to engage in this conduct, then hoe does the school have reason to become involved? Were the females at this school given a warning? Were their phones seized and searched illegally? Also, if they were sharing these photos with other students, how old were these other students? Do the same charges still apply if they were all minors?

Kathryn Caswell on May 19, 2009 at 6:32 p.m. wrote:

I find it surprising and noteworthy that all three cases of sexual assault happened on the same night.. it would be interesting to see if these three victims came forward together at once or if the crimes were reported on an individual basis. I would also be interested to know how many crimes like these are reported per party... clearly those USC frat boys do not have class like UCLA gentlemen(Ahem). My question is this: if a victim goes ahead to persecute this crime of sexual assault and the actual 'molester' cannot be identified, does the blame shift to the entire frat? In what ways would a defense lawyer be able to defend an entire fraternity in a case like this? To what level would that lawyer stress the degree of intoxication on inhibiting the victims' conscious? And finally, to what level would the school be involved?

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