Sexual Misconduct

This section contains information current as of the publication date of the Annual Campus Security Report. For the most current policy and procedures, see the Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy page.

Washington and Lee University prohibits sexual misconduct and related relationship violence offenses constituting crimes under Virginia and/or federal law, specifically including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, as well as sexual misconduct prohibited under Section V of the University's Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy. A detailed summary of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, and related federal and Virginia laws is set out at the end of this section. For purposes of this section, "sexual misconduct" includes all such misconduct and criminal offenses outlined in the prior sentence.

Washington and Lee University encourages all individuals to seek help and immediately report incidents of sexual misconduct. Student Affairs professionals, clinicians in the Student Health and Counseling Center, and the Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Title IX Coordinator(s) are available as resources for support and to understand policies and procedures related to complaints of sexual misconduct. Designated university investigators, as well as the Sexual Assault Investigator of the Rockbridge County Sheriff's Office, are specially trained to respond to sexual misconduct complaints.

Upon a report of sexual misconduct to the University, the University will ensure that students and employees receive written notification of their rights and options, as well as resources available. The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual misconduct. No information shall be released, including the identity of any individual who has made a report, any complainant, any respondent, and any witness, except as required or permitted by law or required to carry out the provisions of the Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy. The University will complete publicly available record keeping, including Clery Act reporting and disclosures, without the inclusion of personally identifying information about the complainant.

SPECIFIC CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ALL THE ABOVE UNIVERSITY AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES, AS WELL AS HEALTH CARE RESOURCES, IS AVAILABLE IN THE RESOURCES GUIDE.

If you are raped or sexually assaulted, or are the victim of any other domestic/dating violence or stalking, please follow these steps (as applicable):

  1. Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
  2. Try to preserve all physical evidence. Even if you do not plan to immediately report to law enforcement or the University, you are strongly encouraged to preserve evidence to the greatest extent possible. This will preserve your options in the future. Don't wash or change clothes if you can avoid it. If you do change clothes, put all of the clothing that you were wearing at the time of the attack in a paper (not plastic) bag. More information about preserving evidence can be found on the Sexual Misconduct Resources webpage.
  3. Get medical attention as soon as possible to make sure you are physically well and to collect important evidence in the event you may wish to later take legal action.
    Note: You do not have to answer any questions from the police, or otherwise cooperate in any criminal investigation, as a condition for receiving a forensic medical exam. In addition, the cost of this exam is borne by the state.
  4. Contact someone you trust to be with you and support you.
  5. Talk with a counselor who will maintain confidentiality, help explain your options, provide information and emotional support. Counseling for victims of sexual misconduct is available through the University Counseling Services (458-8590) [students only], through Project Horizon in Lexington (24-hour crisis line is 540-463-2594) [students and employees], or through the Employee Assistance Program (800-992-1931) [employees only].
  6. Consider notifying Public Safety (540-458-8999) or local law enforcement. At your request, University Public Safety will assist you through the process and help you access the appropriate law enforcement agency. It is your choice whether to report to law enforcement or decline to report to law enforcement and whether to pursue criminal charges. Even if you decide not to pursue criminal charges, you may seek a protective order. Victims of criminal offenses involving violence, force or threat that result in bodily injury or create reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury may obtain a protective order prohibiting contact and other conditions necessary to prevent further such acts.

Law Enforcement Contact Information

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Confidential Resources

Reporting Resources

There are University conduct procedures available to all students and employees reporting instances of sexual misconduct, as specified and incorporated in the University's Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy, which are incorporated into this report. The policy and the procedures are designed to provide prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution processes and will be conducted by individuals who have received training on the issues related to sexual misconduct cases (including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking). The procedures also address supportive measures that can include, but not be limited to, changes in academic, living, and working situations and no-contact directives. Supportive measures are available upon a report if they are reasonably available, regardless of whether or not the student or employee chooses to report to local law enforcement or proceed with a formal complaint under the University's Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy. The University will maintain the privacy of any supportive measures provided under the Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy to the extent practicable.

The University's Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy and the sexual misconduct procedures incorporated in the policy outline the steps for conducting investigations, hearings, and notification of both the complainant and the respondent throughout the process, as well as the range of potential sanctions for sexual misconduct and timelines for resolution. The respondent and the complainant involved in alleged student sexual misconduct cases are entitled to be accompanied to disciplinary proceedings by one or two hearing advisors or a discrimination policy advisor and/or advisor of choice specified under the above-referenced procedures. The respondent and complainant involved in alleged employee sexual misconduct cases are entitled to be accompanied to disciplinary proceedings by a discrimination policy advisor and/or advisor of choice. The respondent and the complainant are also entitled to prompt notification of the outcome of these proceedings as specified in the procedures, including contemporaneous written notice of the decision, the appeal process, any change to the decision, and when the decision becomes final.

The University may impose sanctions, detailed in the linked Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy, ranging from a warning to dismissal from the University for individuals found in violation of the policy. Sanctions for student respondents are listed at Section XIV(B)(4) and sanctions for non-student respondents are listed at Section XV(H) of the policy.

Sexual Assault Laws and Related Laws in Virginia: 2021

The following is a paraphrase. For detailed information see the VA. Code sections cited.

NOTE: Victims of criminal offenses involving violence, force or threat that result in bodily injury or create reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury may obtain a protective order prohibiting contact and other conditions necessary to prevent further such acts. (19.2-152.8; 19.2-152.7:1) This includes victims of dating violence, which is not a separate offense under Virginia law.

Also, NOTE: Under Virginia law, victims of sexual assault are no longer required to cooperate with police or participate in the criminal justice system in order to be provided with forensic medical exams. (19.2-165.1)

  1. Rape (18.2-61)
    • Vaginal sexual intercourse with a person against her/his will and by force.
    • Penalty: 5 years to life imprisonment
  2. Forcible Sodomy (18.2-67.1)
    • Oral sex (cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus) or anal intercourse by force and against the will of the victim.
    • Penalty: 5 years to life imprisonment
  3. Inanimate Object Sexual Penetration (18.2-67.2)
    • Penetration of the vagina or rectum with any object by force and against the will of the victim.
    • Penalty: 5 years to life imprisonment
  4. Aggravated Sexual Battery (18.2-67.3)
    • Sexual abuse (fondling) of the victim
      • through the victim's mental incapacity or physical helplessness OR
      • by force, threat or intimidation where either serious bodily harm or mental injury to the victim results or the assailant uses or threatens use of a weapon.
    • Penalty: 1 to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $100,000.
  5. Mental Incapacity Definition (18.2-67.10)
    • "Mental incapacity" means that condition of the complaining witness existing at the time of a criminal sexual offense under Virginia law which prevents that person from understanding the nature or consequences of the sexual act involved and about which the accused knew or should have known.
  6. Physical Helplessness Definition (18.2-67.10)
    • "Physical helplessness" means unconsciousness or any other condition existing at the time of a criminal sexual offense under Virginia law which otherwise rendered the complaining witness physically unable to communicate an unwillingness to act and about which the accused knew or should have known.
  7. Sexual Battery (18.2-67.4)
    • Sexual abuse (fondling) of the victim
      • by force, threat, intimidation or ruse, against the will of the victim OR
      • intentionally and without the victim's consent on more than one occasion within a two-year period, or of more than one victim within a two-year period.
    • Penalty: 12 months jail and/or up to $2,500 fine
  8. Attempted Rape and Other Attempted Sexual Offenses #1-5 above (18.2-67.5)
    • Penalty:
      • Attempted Rape/Forcible Sodomy/Object Sexual Penetration = 2 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $100,000.
      • Attempted Aggravated Sexual Battery = 1 to 5 years imprisonment OR 12 months in jail and/or up to $2,500 fine.
      • Attempted Sexual Battery = same penalty as Sexual Battery.
  9. Incest (18.2-366)
    • Sexual intercourse between two people who are not permitted by law to marry.
    • Penalty: 12 months jail and/or up to $1,000 fine
  10. Indecent Liberties ("Statutory Rape") (18.2-370)
    • Sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus with a person aged 13 or 14, with consent, when the offender is 3 years or more the senior.
    • Penalty: 1 to 5 years' imprisonment OR 12 months jail and/or up to $2,500 fine
    • (If the offender is less than 3 years the senior the charge is fornication, a misdemeanor. Any person under the age of 13 has no legal capacity to consent to sexual intercourse; therefore, if a person under the age of 13 has sexual intercourse, the offender could be charged with rape.)
  11. Infected Sexual Battery (18.2-67.4:1)
    • A person diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection gngaging in sexual behavior that poses a substantial risk of transmission to another person with the intent to transmit the infection to that person and transmission to that person.
    • Penalty: 1 to 5 years' imprisonment OR 12 months jail and/or up to $2500 fine.
    • A person infected with HIV, Syphilis, or Hepatitis B having intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus with another person without disclosing that status, even without intent to transmit the disease.
    • Penalty: 12 months in jail and/or up to $2,500 fine.
  12. Stalking (18.2-60.3 and 8.01-42.3)
    • Engaging in conduct on more than one occasion directed at another person, when the offender intends to place, or knows or should know that the conduct places, the other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault or bodily injury to self or family.
    • Penalty: 12 months jail and/or up to $2,500 fine, plus an order prohibiting contact between the offender and the victim/victim's family. Additionally, victim may bring a civil suit for damages, whether or not criminal charges are filed.
  13. Obscene Sexual Display (18.2-387.1)
    • Intentionally engaging in actual or simulated masturbation in a public place in the presence of other.
    • Penalty: 12 months jail and/or up to $2,500 fine.
  14. Harassment by Computer (18.2-152.7:1 and 18.2-152.12)
    • Use of a computer or computer network with intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass by communicating obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or making any obscene suggestion, or threatening any illegal or immoral act.
    • Penalty: 12 months jail and/or up to $2,500 fine. Additionally, the victim may bring a civil suit for damages.
  15. Use of Profane, Threatening or Indecent Language over Telephone (18.2-427)
    • Using obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or making any obscene suggestion, or threatening any illegal or immoral act over the telephone with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass another person.
    • Penalty: 12 months jail and/or up to $2,500 fine.
  16. Domestic Violence (18.2-57.2, 18.2-61 et seq., etc.)
    • "Family abuse" includes any act of violence, force, or threat resulting in bodily injury or placing one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury, including forceful detention, stalking, criminal sexual assault, or any other offense meeting those elements, which is committed against a member of the person's family or household member. Family or household member includes an individual's spouse, former spouse, parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, siblings, half siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, any individual who has a child in common with the person, and someone with whom the person has lived together and had conjugal relations in the last 12 months.
  17. Dating Violence (federal law definition per 42 U.S.C. Section 13925(a)(10))
    • "Dating violence" means violence committed by a person (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined by the reporting party based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  18. Consent (the following definition is from the Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy)
    • Individuals who choose to engage in sexual activity of any type must first obtain the consent of the other party. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity.
    • Additional Guidance about Consent:
      • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not, by itself, constitute consent to engage in all forms of sexual activity.
      • Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that an individual has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance, or lack of an active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.
      • A verbal "no" is a clear demonstration of the lack of consent.
      • Individuals with a previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give either initial or continued consent to sexual activity. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity.
      • Either party may withdraw consent at any time. Withdrawal of consent should be outwardly demonstrated by words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
      • Consent is not effective if it results from the use or threat of physical force, intimidation, or coercion, or any other factor that would eliminate an individual's ability to exercise free will to choose whether or not to have sexual contact. See "Force" and "Coercion" in the Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy for further discussion.
      • An individual who is physically incapacitated from alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily) or is asleep, unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically helpless is considered unable to give consent. See "Incapacitation" in the Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy for further discussion.
  19. Hate Crime (8.01-42.1, 8.01-49.1, 18.2-57, 18.2-121, and 52-8.5)
    • Hate crime includes the following acts when these acts are committed because of the victim's race, religion, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin: (i) a criminal act committed against a person or his property with the specific intent of instilling fear or intimidation, or an act to restrain that person from exercising their Constitutional rights, (ii) any illegal act committed against a person or their property, and (iii) all other incidents, as determined by law-enforcement authorities, intended to intimidate or harass any individual or group.
    • Penalty: minimum 6 months jail. Additionally, the victim may bring a civil suit for damages.