Preservation of Evidence

Regardless of whether an incident is reported to the university or to law enforcement, MUSC strongly encourages individuals who have experienced harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct to preserve all information and tangible material related to the alleged Prohibited Conduct. Preserving evidence may help any future administrative or law enforcement investigations and may help preserve the individual’s legal options in the future.

Below are suggestions for preserving evidence. Not every suggestion is applicable to every incident:

  • Do not alter, dispose of, or destroy any physical evidence of sexual misconduct.
  • If you suspect that a drink may have been drugged, inform a medical provider and/or law enforcement as soon as possible so they can attempt to collect possible evidence (e.g., by testing the drink, urine, blood, etc.).
  • Save electronic communications by taking screen shots of text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, etc., and by keeping emails, voicemails, photographs, logs, or copies of documents that relate to the incident.
  • Even if you choose not to make a complaint to MUSC regarding sexual misconduct, consider speaking with the Department of Public Safety or other law enforcement to preserve evidence.
  • Because some physical evidence dissipates quickly, individuals who have been sexually assaulted should seek a forensic medical examination at the Adult Emergency Room at MUSC Health within the first 120 hours (five days) of the assault. Services performed by sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) are free of charge. This includes, DNA collection, photographs, and medications for pregnancy prevention and/or sexually transmitted infections. SANE professionals are available 24/7.
  • An individual who has experienced sexual assault should try not to shower, bathe, douche, smoke, brush teeth, eat, drink, use the bathroom, or change clothes or bedding before going to the hospital.
  • Clothes, sheets, or other materials (items containing bodily fluids) should be brought to the hospital or to the police in paper bags or cardboard boxes.
  • If an individual who has experienced sexual assault decides to change clothes, sheets, or other materials, and wishes to preserve evidence, they should not wash the clothes worn or bedding used during the assault, and should bring them to the hospital or the police in a cardboard box or paper bag.