What if I report the crime?
If you report the crime to law enforcement, the following are some typical steps, although not an exhaustive list, taken during investigations of sexual assault crimes.
Law enforcement will conduct a detailed interview of the survivor of the sexual assault.
This could involve follow-up interviews for additional details. You will be an integral part of the prosecution team at this point. You should expect to be treated with respect and dignity during this entire process.
Law enforcement will interview the perpetrator during the course of their investigation.
Law enforcement will seek and interview every witness with corroborating information to build their case. This will include anyone who was with you before, during, and after the assault as well as medical personnel.
Any medical corroboration. This would include a rape kit and all records from the medical facility. This could also include an expert medical witness who would be able to describe a survivor’s typical reaction after an assault.
All DNA, latent fingerprint, and physical evidence. Law enforcement will collect and analyze any clothing, bedding, condoms, restraints, and any other items that came in contact with the perpetrator to connect the perpetrator to the crime scene.
Phones, laptops, and other electronic devices used during the time-frame of the incident.
Phone records, email, social media.
Any photographs, videos, or any other type of documentation.
From the medical facility
All documents related to procedures for victims of sexual assault.
All reporting requirements related to victims of sexual assault.
All medical records
CCTV footage from the medical facility.
This is generally not kept for long periods of time, but a request should be made anyway.
If a school/college/university is a part of the investigation
Student disciplinary records of perpetrator.
CCTV from the school. This is generally not kept for long periods of time, but a request should be made anyway.
Civil Rights Procedures under Title IX.
Forensic evidence combined with witness testimony, pertinent records, and digital files create the prosecution’s case.
In the criminal legal system in the United States, the perpetrator is considered innocent until proven guilty. There are two ways for guilt to be determined:
a guilty plea is entered in court. This means that the perpetrator attends a court hearing and admits his guilt to a judge.
a guilty verdict is pronounced at the end of a trial. This means that the prosecutor has presented the case in court and has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator committed the crime.