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DPS Probes Date Rape Allegations on Texas Capitol Staffer

DPS Probes Date Rape Allegations on Texas Capitol Staffer

Date rape allegations are taken very seriously by authorities, particularly if a drug is used. In Texas, the authorities are investigating allegations of date rape at the Texas Capitol.

The TV station KVUE reported a Capitol staffer claimed she was drugged with a date-rape drug by a lobbyist during a meeting in downtown Austin.

The report stated the Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating the alleged sexual assault. DPS spokesman Travis Considine told the media he was not unable to give any specifics, including where and when the attack allegedly happened. Officials also said they were not yet prepared to name the lobbyist. He has not been arrested and does not yet face charges. The staffer’s identity has not been released.

Lawmakers distanced themselves from the lobbyist while the investigation is ongoing. “While the investigation is pending, the accused lobbyist(s) and their firm(s) are banned from my office,” State Rep. Dustin Burrows tweeted over the weekend. “And, if true, will be permanently banned.”

Date rape is a commonly used term but the offense is typically charged as sexual assault. No precise definition of date rape is given in the Texas Penal Code.

In recent years the media has focused on alleged date rape allegations on college and university campuses in Texas.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal highlighted claims made by a young woman at Texas Tech who alleged she was raped on the campus in 2013. The news report stated she went out drinking with friends and was sexually assaulted that night. She said she woke up to find a male student was having sex with her.

Sexual assaults and other assaults in Texas are defined under Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code. The law distinguishes between adult and child victims. Anyone under 17 is legally a child.

The act must have occurred without the consent of the victim. Prosecutors will consider whether physical violence or other threats were used to coerce the victim. It is an offense to commit a sexual act with someone who cannot physically resist it such as an incapacitated resident of a nursing home.

The law does not recognize consent if the defendant is in charge of the victim. Rape allegations are often made against teachers, healthcare providers, clergy, or staff at residential facilities who are considered to be in positions of power.

Date rape allegations often concern the use of a drug on the victim. Alcohol can be a date rate drug in some circumstances.

“Someone could use any type of drug, including marijuana, cocaine, or prescription or over-the-counter drugs like antidepressants, tranquilizers, or sleeping aids to overpower a victim or make them not remember an assault,” states the Office on Women’s Health.

Other date rape drugs include gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and ketamine. The Office on Women’s Health states these are commonly called “club drugs” because they are often used at night clubs, dance venues concerts, bars, or parties. Most drugs, including club drugs, have other nicknames that change over time.

Sexual assault and date rape are difficult areas of the criminal law. These allegations are often made by people who may not recall the full circumstances of what happened to them. Sexual assault allegations may be made by people who are within relationships. These claims may boil down to a he said/she said scenario. Find out more about sexual assaults in Texas on our website and contact an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you face these allegations. Call us at (214) 720-9552.