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University Rape and Sexual Assault

Rapes and sexual assaults involving university students are far more common than you might think. The statistics are jaw-dropping and eye-opening. What many students, victims, and families are surprised to discover, however, is the response from their university. Some schools do an excellent job of investigating complaints and providing services for student victims while balancing the due process rights of its accused students. Others, however, are notorious for attempting to dissuade complainants and for doing whatever it takes to keep the complaints from becoming public and/or evade being be held in any way responsible for the assault. Indeed, some victims ended up feeling like their universities are betraying them in order to protect themselves.

From a lawyer's standpoint, university-based sexual assaults present a unique set of challenges in addition to those normally presented in sexual assault cases. To begin, the parties involved are often known to each other, or at least have acquaintances in common. As a result, the issue of consent can arise as a defense, and prior communications (e.g. texts, emails, social media messages, conversations with other friends and students, etc.) become relevant to understanding the parties' relationships prior to the alleged assault. Also, victims frequently face tremendous pressure not to pursue claims against their attackers and can even be intimidated by their peers and fellow students through social media (especially in cases involving popular students or prominent athletes accused of sexual assault). Of course, the parties involved are young and oftentimes sexually inexperienced, and unfortunately, alcohol or other drugs are usually involved, which clouds memories. Additionally, forensic evidence is rarely preserved by campus police or obtained in time to be meaningful. Finally, university disciplinary proceedings can force defense attorneys to make difficult tactical decisions early or force complainants to testify and be cross-examined prior to a criminal trial, thus making their testimony at a criminal trial more difficult.

If you are the victim of a sexual assault on campus, or if you have a friend or family member that was victimized, you should strongly consider retaining the services of former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Matthew Galluzzo. Having previously worked for years in one of the nation's pre-eminent sex crimes prosecutorial units, he has tremendous experience assisting victims of rape and sexual assault in navigating the sometimes dizzyingly complex processes in criminal, civil, and university proceedings triggered by these heinous crimes. Moreover, he is a recognized expert on the investigation of rapes and sexual assaults: he has been quoted on the subject by the New York Times and Reuters (among others) and in 2012 was hired by the National Prosecuting Authority of the Republic of South Africa to help train their prosecutors and law enforcement officers in modern techniques for investigating rape and sexual assault crimes. Finally, as a father of two daughters himself, he treats his clients the way that he would want a lawyer to treat his children: with courage, respect and empathy. He can help you pursue a civil lawsuit against the attacker or even potentially against the university, depending on the facts of the case.

On the other hand, Matthew Galluzzo has also enjoyed tremendous success in proving the innocence of individuals wrongly accused of rape and sexual assault in criminal cases. In one particularly striking example, he was retained to represent a young man that had already been convicted and sentenced to multiple years in state prison (while represented by another attorney from a prominent White Plains law firm) for allegedly raping a fellow student in his dormitory room. Mr. Galluzzo had his client's conviction overturned on appeal and then later earned a full acquittal at trial for the young man despite the prosecution's presentation of the testimony of the complaining witness, two prompt outcry witnesses, DNA evidence and experts, and the defendant's roommate, who testified against him pursuant to a cooperation agreement. You can read more about the case here. He has also successfully defended individuals falsely accused in civil lawsuits for rape and sexual assault. In sum, if you or a loved one have been wrongly accused of raping or sexually assaulting someone on a university campus, you should strongly consider retaining Mr. Galluzzo; needless to say, the family of the young man described above did not regret the decision.

Specialties include:

Victims:

  • Representing victims in civil lawsuits against their attackers;
  • Representing victims in civil lawsuits against schools and universities;
  • Representing victims in connection with university diciplinary proceedings stemming from sexual assault;
  • Advising victims as to their options (civil and criminal) and explaining the civil and crimnal justice systems;

Defendants:

  • Defending individuals falsely accused of rape and sexual assault in criminal court;
  • Defending individuals wrongfully sued for rape/sexual assault in civil court;
  • Defending individuals facing expulsion or other university disciplinary as a result of a worngful sexual assault charge.
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