False Rape Allegations in Florida Universities

May 5, 2022 College, Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

Considering the “Me Too” movement and more victims coming forward, universities are quick to make judgment against students accused of sexual assault. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were 7,650 identified reports of sexual offenses in 2020 and a total of 4,182 arrests. Sexual violence can have harsh physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Some of the results of sexual assault include cuts or bruising, anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1 in 5 women (19.3%) have experienced other forms of sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault in their life.

It is not very common for false allegations to happen—however, it is not impossible. In fact, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has estimated that made-up sexual assault allegations range between 2 to 10 percent.

Universities are unfortunately a common place in which sexual assault cases occur. If a student is accused of sexually assaulting another student, there are serious consequences that can occur. This can include getting expelled or even getting charged with a criminal case.

It’s extremely important for victims of sexual assault to come forward to receive justice. But what happens in the case of a false allegation? We will cover Title IX violations, different types of reports, and example cases of what can result from a false rape allegation at a Florida university.

Title IX

Under any Florida university’s code of conduct, you can find a section on Title IX Violations. It is intended to protect students from sex discrimination while being a student at the institution. According to the Department of Justice, the 1972 Title IX of the Education Amendment Act is the federal law that prohibits sexual harassment and acts of sexual violence.

There are severe consequences that can arise from a Title IX Violation. Students can be expelled from their university, professors can be terminated from their position of employment, the University could revoke their tenure, alongside any collateral penalties leading up to criminal prosecution.

As a student attending a Florida university, you should take a Title IX violation very seriously. It is important to understand student rights, and what happens if you have been accused of a student violation such as sexual misconduct. You can read more about student rights in our blog post here.

Statistics on Various Rape and Sexual Misconduct Reports

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) defines the following types of rape and sexual misconduct reports:

  • False Report – as a reported crime to a law enforcement agency that has been proven through investigation that factually never occurred.
  • Baseless Report – A report in which there is presumed truth, but the incident did not meet the elements of the crime.
  • Unsubstantiated Report – Often used in child abuse reporting, when a report must “provide insufficient evidence to determine whether or not the crime occurred.”

A lot of reports don’t have a clear definition of false rape allegations. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the “determination that a report of sexual assault is false can be made only if the evidence establishes that no crime was committed or attempted.”

Under both the IACP and the FBI, the following are a list of guidelines for constituting a false rape or sexual misconduct report:

  • Insufficient evidence to proceed to prosecution
  • Delayed reporting
  • Victims deciding not to cooperate with investigators
  • Inconsistencies in a victim statement

A study from 2009 found that out of 2,059 sexual assault cases, 7.1 percent were marked as false reports. A different study that focused on Boston sexual assault cases from 1998-2007 found that 5.9 percent were false reports.

There have been a growing number of universities that have mishandled sexual misconduct cases. In fact, the Department of Education released a list of 106 universities that are under investigation for Title IV violations for mishandling sexual assault cases.

Example Cases

  • Kevaughn Dingle, 22, was a former student and athlete at the University of South Florida (USF). Dingle was accused of rape in November 2017. As a consequence, Dingle was dropped from the football team, lost his Division 1 scholarship, and was expelled from the university. In addition, he had to pay for on-campus housing and have his transcripts transferred to another university.

The State Attorney’s Office eventually dropped the criminal charges on Dingle, after a month-long investigation proved there was a lack of evidence. Dingle has since filed a discrimination lawsuit against USF for its rush to judgment. Dingle argues that there was judgment placed against him without substantial evidence, partially due to the “Me Too” movement, discrimination against Black men, a flawed investigation from the school, and bias towards women accusers.

  • David Jia was accused of raping a fellow student at the University of Miami in 2014. Jia argued that he was having drunk, but consensual sex with his classmate. Two of Jia’s roommates were in the apartment when the alleged intercourse occurred, and backed up Jia’s statement that the sex was consensual. The girl student also claimed that Jia had twisted her wrist and beat her on two occasions in 2015, but the Coral Gables Police found during an investigation that Jia had not been in town the week of the supposed incident.

Law enforcement found that there was not enough evidence to charge Jia with anything, however, he still faced harsh punishments from the false allegations. Jia was kicked out of the University of Miami for a full semester. The girl who accused Jia of sexual assault filed a restraining order, which made it impossible for Jia to enter campus at the same time as the accuser. In addition, a professor at UM started a petition to get Jia expelled, even after the police announced that the girl’s claims did not check out. Jia has since sued the university, the accuser, and the professor for the false rape allegations.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you are a student who has been accused of sexual assault, or you are the parent of a student who has been accused of sexual assault, it is imperative that you seek out the legal help of an experienced student criminal defense attorney. A sexual assault allegation results in very serious consequences. You can lose your scholarship, get kicked off a sports team, and even get expelled from the university. In addition, there is the social stigma of getting accused of a sexual assault.

Don’t let a false allegation prevent you from focusing on your education and your future. Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients of all ages across the state of Florida. We understand the importance of working hard to strategize a defense that will grant you your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today and receive a free consultation.

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