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Assault - Physical or Sexual
Definition of Physical Assault: The Texas Penal Code (Sec. 22.01) defines assault as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative. This includes Assault-Dating Violence.
A criminal conviction of Class A Misdemeanor Assault is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
Definition of Sexual Assault: Sexual assault involves sexual activity without the person’s consent. According to the Texas Penal Code (Sec. 22.011), this includes, but is not limited to, when the alleged offender:
1) Uses physical force or violence against the other person to submit or participate;
2) Knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist; or
3) Intentionally impairs the other person's power to appraise or control the other person's conduct by administering any substance without the other person's knowledge.
A criminal conviction of sexual assault is a Second Degree Felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Reporting an Assault
A victim of assault should immediately report the incident to the ACU Police Department (if the incident occurred within the ACUPD jurisdiction) or to the Abilene Police Department (when outside of the ACUPD jurisdiction). When in doubt, contact the ACU Police Department and they will assist with the appropriate reporting procedures.
Victims of sexual assault should immediately call 911. To avoid destroying critical forensic evidence, victims should not shower, bathe or change clothes. Victims of sexual assault or assault (dating violence) who report to the police may choose to use a ‘pseudonym’ in an effort to maintain confidentiality.
The victim will be interviewed by the appropriate law enforcement personnel, and will be provided options, including the possibility of filing criminal charges. Ultimately, it is the victim’s decision to file criminal charges. If the victim believes there is credible and/or imminent risk of harm, he or she may also choose to file a restraining/protective order with the appropriate police department.
If the accused student is an ACU student, the victim, in addition to reporting to ACUPD, should report the incident to the Dean of Students. Whether the student files a report, if the university becomes aware of any assaultive conduct, the university has a duty to investigate the incident and determine appropriate administrative sanctions for the accused student.
Investigating an Assault Incident
The process for administrative investigations of an assault is covered under the disciplinary process of the Student Conduct section of the Student Handbook. Additionally, the Dean of Students and/or designee may request to meet with the alleged victim prior to notifying the accused student of the investigation. Any student conduct violations that the victim may have been involved in during the assault incident may be considered under the Non-Disciplinary Process of the Student Handbook
Upon further administrative investigation, the Dean of Students may: 1) sanction the accused student per the student conduct policy, or 2) document the incident as ‘informational’ in the event there is not enough evidence to pursue administrative sanctions.
Upon written request, the alleged victim will be provided with the results of the final disciplinary response against the accused student.
Personal counseling is available at the University Counseling Center to any student involved in an assault regardless of whether the incident occurred on or off campus or whether the accused is a student.
The Regional Crime Victim Crisis Center is an off campus resource available in the Abilene area. The Center provides many services, including a 24/7 Local Rape Crisis Hotline (325-677-7895).