Legal and Reporting Options
WHAT ARE MY REPORTING OPTIONS?
A victim may report a sexual assault at any time, but is strongly encouraged
to make reports promptly in order to preserve evidence for a potential
legal or disciplinary proceeding. Victims should not be discouraged from
reporting a sexual assault if it is after 72 hours or weeks, months, or in some
cases even years later. You will not know the merits of the case until after a
trained officer investigates.
Victims can report to the university if the sexual assault occurs on or off
campus. Victims can report to the university and/or law enforcement – either
to one or both.
Report to the law enforcement agency in the city/county in which the
assault took place. Please note that an advocate can assist you through the
reporting process and even be present in the room while the officer takes
Call an advocate
An advocate can discuss all your options, provide information on your
rights, support you through a reporting process, help you file a protective
order, accompany you to court, assist in a student conduct code complaint
and provide emotional support and counseling. Their training is focused
specifically on assisting survivors of sexual violence.
- Call the Women’s Center and ask for a
Sexual Assault Advocate
(8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m.)
- Call the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center
(24 hours a day)
St. Cloud Police Department
If the assault took place in the city of St. Cloud, report to the St. Cloud
Police Department by calling 320.251.1200.
At the St. Cloud Police Department (and at some other law enforcement
agencies), victims can make a blind report. A blind report means the victim
provides law enforcement with information about the sexual assault and the
perpetrator, but does not wish to participate in the prosecution of the crime
at this time. Victims must contact an advocate from the Women’s Center or
Central MN Sexual Assault Center for this option.
On Campus: SCSU Public Safety
Victims can report a sexual assault to the Public Safety Department by
calling 320.308.3333. They can document what happened, which may
be helpful if you are unsure if you want to report to law enforcement at this
time, or if you file a student conduct code violation complaint on campus.
It is important to know that Public Safety reports in most cases are sent to
Student Life and Development for review of a conduct code violation and
are not confidential.
On Campus: Filing a complaint
If the offender is also a student, you as the victim/survivor also have the
right to file a student conduct code complaint with the university. You can
report the assault to Student Life and Development or to the Office of Equity
and Affirmative Action. A Women’s Center advocate from the Gender
Violence Prevention Program can assist you in determining the appropriate
IS WHAT I REPORT CONFIDENTIAL?
Different people on campus have different reporting responsibilities, and
different abilities to maintain your confidentiality depending on their
roles at the university. When consulting campus resources, victims should
be aware of confidentiality and mandated reporting in order to make
informed choices. On campus, some resources may maintain your complete
confidentiality, offering you options and advice without any obligation to
tell anyone, unless you want them to. Other resources are expressly there for
you to report crimes and policy violations, and they will take action when
you report your victimization to them.
If you want to speak to someone on campus and have it kept private and
confidential, you should speak with an advocate at the University Women’s
Center’s Gender Violence Prevention Program. Other places you can go
on campus for private or confidential services are the Counseling Center
and Health Services. If you want to speak to someone off campus, call the
Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center at 320.251.4357.
You can report to the university and request confidentiality and ask to not
have the complaint pursued. However, the school legally needs to take
all reasonable steps to investigate and respond. The university’s ability to
respond may be very limited when a victim requests that the information not
be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator.
The university has to weigh the request for confidentiality with the
seriousness of the alleged sexual assault. If there are other complaints
against the same accused student, for example, and the school can’t
maintain confidentiality, the university must inform you, the complainant.
Mandated Reporting and Reporting Obligations
Certain campus officials have a duty to report sexual violence for federal
statistical reporting purposes. All personally identifiable information is kept
confidential, and only statistical information is passed along to Public Safety
regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off campus, in
the surrounding area, but no addresses are given. This statistical information
is used for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. Women’s
Center Advocates also report only statistical information to Public Safety.
Victims of sexual assault should be aware that university administrators must
issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial
threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The
university will not disclose the victim’s name or other identifying information.
The purpose of these warnings is to provide enough information for
community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential
DO I HAVE TO REPORT THIS TO THE POLICE?
You always have the right to report the crime to law enforcement. Know that
it is your right to choose not to report the crime, but consider talking with
an advocate to discuss the pros and cons before reaching a final decision.
It is not uncommon for victims of sexual violence to feel differently about
reporting as they progress through the healing process.
If you are having difficulty deciding to report criminally or not, a sexual
assault advocate can guide you through a process that will help you make a
decision that is best for you.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF REPORTING TO POLICE LIKE?
If you decide to report the assault to law enforcement, reports need to be
made in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred. For example, if you
are a student living on campus and you were sexually assaulted in Saint
Cloud, then you would report to the Saint Cloud Police Department. If you
were assaulted in Waite Park, then you would need to report to the Waite
Park Police Department. If the assault occurred outside of a city, you would
report to a county sheriff’s office. If you are unsure where to report, you can
call any law enforcement agency and tell them where the crime took place
and ask where you should report.
After you have contacted law enforcement, an officer will arrive to discuss
the various aspects of the criminal investigation with you. If you choose
to proceed, the officer will need to take a formal statement to record the
details of the crime. You can request that your advocate be with you while
you are giving your statement. Your statement is the first of several steps in
The officers are not there to judge you. They are there to obtain information
about the crime: the date and the time of the occurrence, location,
description of the suspect, etc. You will also be asked about your activities
before and after the assault. They will also ask questions about specific
details of the sexual acts that were forced upon you to determine what
crimes can possibly be charged. You may feel embarrassed, but remember
it is not you who did these things, but the assailant.
The information you provide is the basis of a legal proceeding and must be
accurate. You have the right to read over everything the law enforcement
officers write on forms and ask them to correct any misinformation. Once
your report is transcribed, you can get a copy by calling the records division
of the law enforcement agency. This only applies to the information which
you have provided; you cannot see information or testimony someone else
has given. Be certain to get the names, badge numbers, and telephone
numbers of officers.
You must be truthful in each statement you make in any law enforcement
or judicial proceeding. Inaccurate or incorrect information may cause
law enforcement to follow false leads. If you are not certain of something,
be sure to say so. If you do not know something exactly, describe it as
accurately as possible. If you remember something later that you may not
have told the law enforcement officers, call them with the information. Also,
if you remember details a little differently later on; make sure to clarify this
with law enforcement.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRIMINAL, CIVIL,
AND CAMPUS PROCESSES?
If you choose to access the criminal, civil and/or campus reporting systems
there are a few things that you should know before proceeding. Each
process moves forward on its own. An advocate can assist in coordinating
actions so that these processes do not hinder each other from moving
forward and maximizing an outcome.
For example, if Sally is assaulted and chooses to report to police and file
for an order for protection, she should consider letting the law enforcement
officer conduct the investigation before she files for the protective order. This
way law enforcement will be able to interview the offender before he/she is
served with a protective order. If safety is an immediate concern the victim
may wish to discuss filing the protective order with the investigating officer.
WHAT IS A CRMINAL COURT PROCESS LIKE?
This process begins with a report to local law enforcement. Your statement
is the first of several steps in an investigation. The officer may interview the
suspect and collect the evidence at the scene, etc. When law enforcement
completes an investigation, the case is sent to the county attorney’s office.
The county attorney will decide if there is enough evidence to charge and
prosecute the case.
If the county attorney decides to charge the case, there are several court
appearances the accused will have to attend before a trial, but in most
cases the victim will not be required to attend. You can choose to go
and watch the proceedings in open court or can ask your advocate to
attend. If the case goes to a trial, the victim witness advocate or another
representative from the county attorney’s office will contact you to prepare
you for trial.
In court, it will not be you vs. the rapist. Your role is as a witness. The “State
of Minnesota” prosecutes the suspect because the suspect is charged with
committing a criminal act under the Minnesota state statutes. The attorney
prosecuting the case against the suspect is an Assistant County Attorney.
The preliminary hearing is generally a short process in which only the basic
details of the crime are disclosed. What must be established is that the
assault occurred and that there is reason to believe that this suspect did it
without your free consent. Between the first appearance and the actual trial,
many delays may occur. It may take many months before a case gets to a
trial stage. This is not uncommon. Very few cases actually go to jury trial. In
some cases defendants “plead” before a trial.
If a trial occurs, the case is decided by a judge or a jury based upon
witnesses’ testimony and the physical evidence. To be convicted the
defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Because
such a decision is being made, the defense attorney has the right to ask
you questions. If the suspect is found guilty, a sentencing hearing will be
scheduled. This is an open, public hearing you may want to attend.
In an effort to feel more comfortable in the courtroom and to have a better
understanding of the criminal proceedings, you may wish to contact the
County Attorney, Victim/Witness Coordinator, your advocate, or your
Usual order of events in a criminal court proceeding:
- You file a criminal report with law enforcement.
- Law enforcement investigates and then presents the case to the County
- You may be interviewed by the County Attorney’s Office.
- The County Attorney decides whether there is enough admissible
evidence to present the case to a jury.
- If indicted and if suspect pleads not guilty, several hearings will be set
which the suspect must attend. You can be subpoenaed to appear at
- Trial (you are required to attend as a witness).
- Acquittal or sentencing.
- If sentenced, a sentencing date will be set. You may be called by a
corrections officer as part of a pre-sentencing investigation.
WHAT IS A CIVIL COURT PROCESS LIKE?
Civil processes can include protective orders (Harassment Restraining
Orders, Orders for Protection) or civil lawsuits (suing the perpetrator for
damages). If you want to pursue obtaining a Harassment Restraining Order
(HRO) or Order for Protection (OFP), an advocate can assist you through
this process. To pursue civil lawsuits you will have to retain your own
attorney or go to Small Claims Court.
If you’re thinking about getting a protective order:
An Order for Protection (OFP) or a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO)
are civil court protective orders that are designed to stop an abuser from
continuing acts of violence, threatening, harassing, or stalking behaviors.
If you are in fear for your safety you might want to consider filing for an
Order for Protection or Harassment Restraining Order.
Contact an advocate from the Women’s Center’s Gender Violence
Prevention Program to determine which protective order you may be eligible
for and assistance in completing the forms and filing the order in the correct
As a student, you may want to write specific requests in the order dealing
with contact on campus and in classes. In some instances, the campus can
issue its own ‘no contact’ letter to the accused. Your advocate can assist you
WHAT IS A CAMPUS PROCESS LIKE?
This process is applicable in cases involving reported sexual violence by a
SCSU student, employee, or volunteer — whether the assault takes place on
or off campus. A sexual assault advocate at the Women’s Center can assist
in determining the appropriate reporting offices.
The level of proof on campus is not ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ as in the
criminal court system, but instead is ‘preponderance of evidence.’ This is
defined as a standard of responsibility that it is more likely than not that a
violation has occurred. If an accused student is found responsible, sanctions
can include probation, suspension or expulsion.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A CRIME VICTIM?
Many survivors of violent crimes, especially survivors of sexual assault,
experience emotional shock. At this time it is important for you to know that
victims can become survivors. Part of this process is making every attempt
you can to take control of your life again and being certain that you are
receiving the care, information and rights to which you are entitled. By
exercising your rights you are, in effect, taking charge again. As a victim of
crime, Minnesota law provides you with specific rights, including the right
to be notified, the right to participate in prosecution, and the right to apply
for financial assistance. Domestic violence, sexual assault, and harassment
victims have additional rights. A complete list can be found at https://dps.
mn.gov/divisions/ojp/help-for-crime-victims/Pages/crime-victims-rights.aspx or by contacting your advocate.
WHAT RIGHTS DO I HAVE AS A STUDENT?
The United States Congress enacted the “Campus Sexual Assault Victims’
Bill of Rights” in 1992 as a part of the Higher Education Amendments of
1992. This law requires that all colleges and universities (both public and
private) participating in federal student aid programs afford sexual assault
victims certain basic rights. It also requires the school to notify victims of
their option to report their assault to the proper law enforcement authorities.
The “Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights” exists as a part of the
campus security reporting requirements, commonly known as the Jeanne
Clery Act, of the federal law that establishes all student aid programs,
the Higher Education Act of 1965. This bill of rights can be found at
E2%80%99-bill-rights-clery-act-complaint or by contacting your
SCSU Bill of Rights for Victims of Sexual Assault
SCSU has a bill of rights specific to this campus regarding sexual assault
victims. A victim is any person who encounters emotional and/or physical
harm or loss as a result of unwanted sexual contact.
A victim/survivor of sexual assault has the right to:
- Privacy and the treatment of sensitive information in a confidential
- Be treated with dignity and receive nonjudgmental assistance.
- Meaningful support and advocacy from campus organizations and
agencies. The university recognizes that institutional support for victims
- The prompt assistance of campus authorities, at the request of the
victim, in notifying the appropriate law enforcement officials and
disciplinary authorities of a sexual assault incident.
- The complete and prompt assistance of campus authorities, in the
direction of law enforcement authorities, in obtaining, securing, and
maintaining evidence in connection with a sexual assault incident.
- An investigation and resolution by campus disciplinary authorities of a
sexual assault report.
- Choose the level of participation in university disciplinary proceedings
against an assailant, including the right to an advocate or victim’s
- Privacy of past sexual/relationship history during campus judicial
- Notification of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceedings
concerning a sexual assault complaint, consistent with the laws
relating to data practices.
- Assistance of campus authorities in preserving materials relevant to a
campus disciplinary proceeding for a sexual assault complaint
- File for reparations and know the release status from the pretrial
detention of the accused assailant.
- Assistance of campus personnel in shielding the victim, at her/his
request, from unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator, including
housing and class transfers, if such transfers are feasible.
WHAT IF I FEEL MY CIVIL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED?
The US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights enforces several
Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities
that receive Federal funds, which includes most colleges and universities in
the U.S. If you feel that your rights have been violated, report this violation
to the Department of Education. More information can also be found at