SMU Task Force Discusses Sexual Misconduct

Yesterday, SMU’s Task Force, aimed at reevaluating the school’s policies and procedures towards sexual misconduct on campus, met for the first time.

The group of 20 discussed the university’s sexual assault reporting procedures, the student congress review process for victims and suspects, and services that aid victims of sexual assault, according to a press release from SMU.

The university and the District Attorney’s office began this examination after the arrest of John David Mahaffey, 19, who was arrested and charged with the sexual assault of another male student on campus. This was the fourth sexual assault reported on campus this year.

Update: SMU’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus, reported Wednesday that an SMU female student was sexually assaulted by an SMU male acquaintance at an off-campus apartment. The total number reported this year stands at five.

Read more about the goal of the task force in this week’s Park Cities People.

One thought on “SMU Task Force Discusses Sexual Misconduct

  • October 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm
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    I sent an email to the SMU paper’s staff this morning.

    Dear SMU Daily Campus,

    I applaud your articles that bring to light the need for change in addressing rape.

    Although my rape did not happen at SMU, the process that my case took is remarkably similar to the SMU system of handling rape.

    It is a system that does not work in cases of serious crimes like rape. I learned the hard way that this panel system is not the avenue to report rapes. I am almost 50 years old. If I could go back and change something in my life, it would be that I would have gone to the police when I was raped by a priest from my local parish instead of going to the other priests, bishops, cardinals and Catholic Church lay people.

    I was deeply loyal to the church and believed it was a source of justice. It was not until decades later that I realized that rape should be handled by the police. People who are objective and experts at handling rape. The church, much like SMU, is not an institution trained to address rape.

    I was raped while working at my church where I worked in youth ministry during high school. I participated in special panels and saw how they worked along with the review boards.

    In my experience, the boards do not work because the people chosen to sit on the boards lacked objectivity. They were hand picked by the bishop. Many of them were former law enforcement officials but in my case, their loyalty to the church was paramount. If they were in a jury pool, they would have to recuse themselves just because of ties to the institution.

    Some of the lay people involved in my panel who were chosen by the bishop were a former judge, a former U.S. Marshal and Former Asst. Police Chief, priests and experts in child abuse. They were all loyal to the bishop / church foremost. They were not objective. Law enforcement protocol was thrown out the door. I have worked as an analyst in law enforcement 25 years and can tell you that they broke every rule in the interview process.

    It came down to control of information by the church institution, lack of objectivity by the bishop, the special panel and the review board and finally, total lack of not the knowledge of but lack of use of police investigative norms.

    Police investigators who are in no way associated with SMU should handle all allegations of rape. The less involvement by SMU officials and panels, the greater the chance the victim will realize justice.

    Good Luck and Nice Work with the articles.

    Reply

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