At any time, Carleton College will support students who wish to pursue an external complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault. To pursue external action, you may contact the Northfield Police at 507-645-4477, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at 1-800-652-9747, or a private attorney. Advocates at the HOPE Center are well prepared to provide guidance as you navigate the legal system.

If you have experienced sexual assault and think that at some point you may wish to pursue a legal complaint, it can be beneficial to get an evidentiary medical examination immediately following the assault (up to 120 hours following the assault) and to file a police report about the incident.

Legal complaints are independent from the Carleton formal complaint process–filing one neither prevents nor obligates you from filing the other.

What is the difference between Carleton’s complaint process and the legal process?

There is a difference between Carleton’s complaint process and an external legal process. Carleton’s complaint process is an internal complaint process, which means that it was created for the Carleton community to be utilized for the Carleton community. Carleton students involved in a complaint, whether as a complainant or a respondent will be provided support.

The legal process, whether it is criminal or civil, is an external process which means that the process is outside the control and authority of the College. Anyone who believes that they are a victim of a crime may take steps to file a criminal complaint with the local authorities. Victims of sexual assault who report an incident to the police need not retain a private attorney because the legal issues will be handled through the county attorney’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are accused of a crime, or are considering filing a civil action against the alleged perpetrator.