FAQs For Accused
What do I do if I am accused of sexual violence and/or sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the victim. You may want to speak with someone in the campus community who can act as your support person. Dr. Lauren Elan Helsper, Director, Diversity, Compliance, and Title IX Coordinator, can explain Cerritos College’s investigation procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to seek confidential counseling through the Student Health and Wellness Center or seek support through off-campus services.
What about legal advice?
The accused may want to retain legal counsel given the potential for criminal and/or civil action.
What, if anything, will my parents be told?
The college’s primary relationship is to you, the student, and not to your parents. College officials will only speak with your parents at your request or when there is a significant threat to your health or safety.
Can I be charged with something on campus and off campus?
Yes, victims have the right to pursue both campus resolution of a complaint as well as civil and/or criminal resolution. It is up to the victim to decide how he/she wants to proceed. Cerritos College’s processes will move forward regardless of whether there is criminal or civil legal action taken for the same incident.
If I engage in a sexual activity with someone who has been drinking, can I be accused of sexual assault?
Yes, it is against Cerritos College’s policy ( BP 3540 | AP 3540) to engage in any sexual activity with someone who is mentally or physically incapacitated, and therefore incapable of giving consent. Alcohol may cause such a state of incapacitation. However, it varies from person to person. For a variety of reasons, it is not advisable to engage in sexual activity while intoxicated. When one or both parties are intoxicated, people tend to misinterpret another’s sexual intentions and often proceed before the issue of consent has been clarified.
What information will I receive about the complaint?
You will receive a notification from the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Dean of Student Affairs providing you about the complaint. That notification may include:
- The complainant’s name
- The specific incident or policy violation alleged
- Date(s) of the alleged incident or policy violation(s)
- Approximate time(s) of the alleged incident or policy violation(s)
- Location(s) of alleged incident or policy violation(s)
This notification will also invite you to a meeting with the Title IX Coordinator.
Who is the Title IX Coordinator?
Dr. Lauren Elan Helsper, Director Diversity, Compliance, and Title IX Coordinator, 562-860-2451 ext. 2276 or TitleIXCoordinator@cerritos.edu. More information on the role is located on the Title IX Coordinator page.
What happens during the meeting with the Title IX Coordinator/Investigator?
The Title IX Coordinator or investigator will explain the College investigation process and your rights during the process. The Coordinator or investigator will discuss any changes to your courses and residence that may be necessary during the process. The Coordinator will also discuss the availability of interim measures, such as academic flexibility requests, or other steps to assist you during the complaint resolution process. At that time, you can provide names of witnesses and other evidence that you might have, such as text messages, emails and photos.
You have a right to have an advisor or support person of your choice present during this meeting.
What does the advisor or support person do during the process?
The role of the advisor is to assist the student during the process but it is not to represent or speak for the student. If you plan to be represented by an attorney and have them communicate with the college, the college will need to receive a signed a release form before we can provide them information. The two types of releases are provided here, as well as the resources section, above.
How long does the initial meeting with the Title IX Coordinator take?
Although each case is unique, generally the initial meeting takes approximately one hour.
What happens after the meeting with the Title IX Coordinator?
After the meeting, you will be informed of the next steps in the investigation. Depending on the nature of the case, one or two investigators will be assigned. For some sexual assault cases, external investigators may be assigned to the case.
If external investigators are assigned, they will contact you to schedule an interview.
Who will be informed about the complaint?
The Title IX Coordinator shares information on a need-to-know basis, e.g. those involved in the investigation and resolution of the complaint. Beyond those involved in the investigation, those that need to know include the Title IX Coordinator, The Dean of Student Affairs and third party investigators. During the formal complaint resolution process, witnesses will be informed about the complaint against you.
Will my professors know about the complaint?
Often respondents request interim academic measures such as extensions on assignments and rescheduled exams. In these cases, faulty may become aware that there may be a pending case against a student, although little to no details about the complaint is shared in order to preserve the privacy of students.
Will there be a hearing?
In some instances, a hearing may occur. Please see AP 5520 to review the circumstances in which a hearing may take place.
Do I have a right to appeal the decision?
Yes, both the complainant and respondent have a right to appeal the decision. Please review AP 3540 and AP 5520 for more information about the appeals process.
How long will the process take?
The length of the process depends on the facts of each case-- for example, the number of witnesses, any college breaks, etc. -- but generally the process should take 00 days or less
If there is a sexual history between the complainant and the respondent, can it still
be sexual assault?
Yes. A previous sexual history may be relevant to determining whether the encounter in question was consensual, but a history does not automatically mean there was consent during the time of the alleged event.
What if I cannot find an answer to my question on this page or the Title IX website?
You can direct any additional questions to Dr. Lauren Elan Helsper, Director Diversity, Compliance, and Title IX Coordinator, 562-860-2451 ext. 2276 or TitleIXCoordinator@cerritos.edu.