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Trial of Texas Tech student ends with guilty verdict

College students often find themselves in compromising situations with little awareness of the long-term consequences that can result. When it comes to sexual assault charges, even if the allegations are proven untrue, damage to reputation, school attendance opportunities and other effects can be devastating to the student and his or her family.

When charges are found to be true, penalties can be severe. Court records show on March 3, a jury found a Texas man guilty of sexual assault. A report in "The Daily Toreador" on March 2, 2014, gives case background. In 2012, a female student called 911 stating she had been assaulted. Reportedly held against her will, the woman claimed she and the defendant knew each other, had dated a few times and did have previous sexual contact. On the day she reported the assault, the 23-year-old had texted her asking that she come to his house.

She testified she went because if she didn't, he threatened to upload sexual images and a video of her to the internet and send them to her family. Further, she believed her life was threatened because he had a knife. Trial records show the jury viewed the video and text messages implicating the defendant in a plan to hack the school email system to send the images to everyone.

The defense argued the sex was consensual. A forensic nurse testified her examination of the woman at the time revealed three abrasions on her neck and no other evidence of forced sexual contact.

Court records show the jury deliberated four hours, returning a guilty verdict on the charge of sexual assault. He is not guilty of the original charge of aggravated sexual assault.

Rape and other illegal sexual acts are serious criminal charges. Punishment can include extensive prison time, especially if guilty of aggravated sexual assault. It's important to have a clear understanding of your rights, if arrested. As in this case, presentation of all the facts with an effective defense strategy can help juries sort out their decisions with proper regard for what is appropriate under the law.

Source: The Daily Toreador, "Former Texas Tech student found guilty" Diego Gaytan, Mar. 03, 2014

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