sexual assault


Nearly a third of female undergraduate students at the University of Missouri-Columbia say they have experienced some form of sexual assault or misconduct during their time at the school.

A survey released earlier this week by the Association of American University asked more than 150,000 students about their experience with sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

Of the 27 universities and more than 150,000 students that took part in the survey, MU had the third-highest rate.

Sexual assault on college campuses is getting new attention these days as societal attitudes change regarding this issue. On this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske speaks with two local Title IX officials about how they educate students and faculty, and investigate sexual assault allegations.


An exploration of a decade of rape cases in Douglas County has revealed troubling information. Of the cases where heavy drinking had been involved and where the victim knew the accused, there were no convictions. Pleading down, or pleading guilty to a lesser crime, appears to have been a common outcome in those cases. The Lawrence-Journal World's Sara Shepherd shares insights from her reporting.


It may seem counterintuitive, but officials at the University of Kansas say they’re pleased they saw an increase in the number of discrimination complaints in 2014.

The office that handles allegations of discrimination received 169 complaints last year. In 2013, that number was 85.

Jane McQueeny, director of the KU Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, says most of the complaints are under the category of Title IX violations. That's the federal law regulating sexual harassment and violence on campuses.

About a third of the complaint were rape allegations.

The University Of Kansas placed the Kappa Sigma fraternity on probation for two years on Wednesday because of violations of the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities.

The sanctions are the result of an investigation of alleged sexual assault at the fraternity the weekend of Sept. 26.

According to a statement from the University, the sanctions against the Kappa Sigma fraternity include:

Native American women living on reservations suffer from some of the highest rates of violent crime, per capita, in the world. Yet tribal courts are often limited in their authority to address the issue. Sarah Deer, a KU Law alum with Muscogee roots, recently received a MacArthur grant for her efforts to bridge the gap between federal and tribal law, and to empower tribes to protect their women. 


Wikimedia Commons

A constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot could change the way sexual crimes are prosecuted in Missouri.

Constitutional Amendment 2 would allow previous relevant criminal activities to be admissible in court for crimes of a sexual nature against a minor. 

Ballot language:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.,  Missouri Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo., Kansas State University, and Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., are all on a list of over 70 colleges and universities under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for violations of sex discrimination.

Tristan Bowersox / Flickr, Creative Commons

California just passed a law establishing "yes means yes" as the statewide standard for consent, and President Obama recently issued a message to the nation calling assault on campus "an affront to our basic humanity." In the wake of some controversial local cases, where do local universities stand on this issue, and what are students saying?


Yassie / Wikimedia-CC

Later this week, the University of Missouri Board of Curators will vote on a plan to change the way sexual assault and harassment complaints are handled.

But some faculty members say the process is moving forward a little too quickly.

University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe is proposing a change that would require schools to investigate sexual harassment or discrimination cases within 60 days.

The proposal before the curators also would widen which employees must report harassment to the administration and change the hearing process.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Concerns about the way the University of Kansas handles sexual assault cases have been boiling over in recent weeks.

Reports of alleged sexual assaults garnering minor punishments have prompted protests and even a video produced by students telling others not to attend KU. Thursday night, university officials held a panel discussion where they answered questions, took suggestions and explained university policies surrounding sexual assault.

More than 100 people gathered for the discussion. Those who spoke expressed concerns about the process and suggested improvements.

Jail time is frequently the end result for rapists and child molesters. However, groups like the Larned State Hospital feel that sex offenders are often victims of abuse  and need outside help.

Treatment programs have been designed to reduce the risk of re-offending, but does treatment work well enough to keep communities safe? What if a sex offender cannot be rehabilitated? Should we keep them “in treatment” forever even after their jail term has expired?

On Monday's Central Standard, host Susan Wilson examines the complicated world of sex offender justice.

Village of Niles / Google Images -- CC

Sexual assault used to be such a taboo issue that it wasn’t even covered by the media. Those affected by sexual assault would often hide in shame, but as it has becomes more public, young people are flocking to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to call names and take sides.

Missouri will not ease up on former convicts who committed sex crimes when they were juveniles, and state lawmakers are getting praise for the decision in some law enforcement circles.

In the legislature, there was enough concern about the bill passed during the regular session that it was never even brought up for a vote in this week’s special session to consider the governor’s vetoes.

This was one that got Governor Jay Nixon’s red stamp. 

Governor Nixon Vetoes Sex Registry Bill

Aug 21, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Arguing that he was keeping nearly 900 sex offenders from being  let loose on unknowing communities, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City explaining his veto of a bill passed by the legislature. 

Looking At The Maryville Rape Case

Jul 15, 2013
Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Cases involving teen sexual assault have been on the national radar lately, and one town in the Kansas City area is under that microscope. 

Why Was The Maryville Rape Case Dropped?

Jul 11, 2013
Peggy Lowe / KCUR


The first thing Daisy Coleman remembers is her surprise that she was still alive.

“I was just like, I thought I was dead at first,” she said.

An incoherent Coleman, then 14, crawled to the front door of her family’s home in Maryville, Mo. It was a Sunday morning, Jan. 8, 2012, 5 a.m. Her younger brother, Tristin, and mother, Melinda, heard a thumping and at first thought it was their dogs trying to come in.

photo by dan verbeck

U.S. Attorneys from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa will gather next week for a conference centered on domestic violence and sexual assault in Indian Country. 

U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom says the statistics on violence against women and girls in tribal communities can only be described as shocking.

This month, Palle Rilinger retired after 27 years as a social worker and president of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault.  MOCSA focuses on reducing the harm of sexual assault and abuse through treatment, prevention and advocacy.