California Attorney General Unveils Plan for Coordination on Campus Sex Assault Cases

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California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris unveiled a model blueprint Wednesday to improve coordination between law enforcement and colleges on campus sexual assault cases.

Harris, who was flanked by University of California President Janet Napolitano and others, said the model memorandum of understanding would help clarify such responsibilities as who would collect evidence and interview witnesses while better supporting those reporting sexual assaults. She said the lack of clear communication, adequate training and designated areas of responsibility too often resulted in disjointed efforts between campus officials and police -- and further trauma for victims.

In one 2013 case, she said, a 19-year-old Mills College student who reported being raped had to hire an attorney to locate the detective who took her original police report but failed to follow up. When she was finally interviewed, she was asked about her virginity and told she was confusing "rough sex" with rape, Harris said.

"There are silos between college systems and separate silos around law enforcement," Harris said. "This [agreement] seeks to combine the resources we collectively have."

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