Within These Walls: Investigating and Prosecuting the In-School Sexual Assault

Course Description

What every parent fears: an alert from their children’s school, notifying them of some event like an active shooter. Schools train, drill, and have alerts for active shooters, fires, and other disasters; however, when it comes to addressing in-school sexual assaults – particularly those committed by students – most schools find themselves with no plan. This leads to problems for investigators, prosecutors and school officials as they try to achieve justice for survivors and keep the school environment safe. This presentation will focus on building strong cases when a sexual assault occurs in a school environment, with a focus on evidence collection, obtaining digital evidence and navigating school policies. Attendees will be encouraged to think about specialized legal proceedings like waiver hearings (trying juveniles as adults). Finally, we will discuss unique trial issues, including witness intimidation, working with reluctant witnesses, and overcoming juror biases.

Learning Objectives

1. Develop investigative strategies for working school-environment sexual assaults that are perpetrated by students.

2. Formulate a plan for multi-disciplinary decision making and charging decisions, particularly when the offender is a minor.

3. Address trial issues, such as witness intimidation and uncooperative witnesses.

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