According to officials from the Rutgers University Police Department, the young woman was in her dorm room in Mettler Hall on the College Avenue campus on Friday when the incident occurred. The victim told police that a man came into her room while the door was open, kissed her, and fondled her over her clothing.
The woman said she pulled away from the assailant and told him to get out, after which he exited the room leaving her unharmed. She described the suspect as having blonde hair and a thin build. The Rutgers University Police has asked anyone with information regarding this incident to contact them, as the investigation is ongoing.
If investigators ultimately identify a suspect in this case, he may be charged with a sex crime. Although we often use the term “sexual assault” to apply to a variety of illegal and inappropriate sexual behavior toward another person, New Jersey law recognizes sexual assault as a specific offense among the general category of sex crimes.
Sexual Assault Charges in NJ
The New Jersey Statute that addresses sexual assault is N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2. Under this section, a person must commit an act of sexual contact when the victim is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim; or an act of sexual penetration with another person under one of several specific circumstances in order to be guilty of sexual assault.
New Jersey law on sex crimes distinguishes between “sexual contact” and “sexual penetration.” These definitions are extremely significant when determining what type of crime an allegation constitutes, as well as the penalties the person accused is facing if convicted.
Sexual contact is defined as intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor. Sexual contact of the actor with himself must be in view of the victim whom the actor knows to be present. Conversely, sexual penetration means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor’s instruction.
When a person is charged with sexual assault, this is a second degree crime punishable by between 5 and 10 years in NJ State Prison. Sexual assault is also governed by the No Early Release Act (NERA), which requires the person convicted to serve 85% of the sentenced imposed before becoming eligible for parole. In addition to these penalties, an individual convicted of sexual assault must register as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law.
Charged with Sexual Assault at Rutgers? Contact our New Brunswick NJ Sexual Assault Defense Lawyers
Unfortunately, there are scenarios in which an innocent person is accused of sexual assault. In these cases, it is absolutely critical to enlist an experienced NJ sex crimes defense attorney who can work to prevent the permanently damning consequences of a sexual assault conviction. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our attorneys are dedicated to providing the most vigorous defense against sexual assault charges. With offices in Edison, we regularly represent Rutgers students and others who are charged with sex crimes and other criminal offenses in New Brunswick, Piscataway, and throughout Middlesex County. If you are under investigation or charged with sexual assault, contact us anytime at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation. Anything we discuss is entirely confidential and we are here to help you get your questions answered.
For additional information about this case, access the following article: Rutgers Univ. student sexually assaulted in dorm room