Sexual misconduct can be generally defined as non-consensual sexual activity, which occurs as a result of intimidation, threat of force, force or coercive behavior, or taking advantage of one who is unable to give consent due to mental or physical incapacitation (Tucker 1995). Criminal sexual misconduct most generally refers to acts of sexual misconduct which are felonies according to the criminal code.

In Pennsylvania, rape is understood to be sexual intercourse by "forcible compulsion;" that is, without the victim's consent. "Acquaintance rape" is a rape in which the victim, male or female, and the rapist know one another. Legally, there is no distinction between what is commonly known as "acquaintance rape" and what is legally defined as rape.

In addition to rape, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lists the following as criminal sex offenses: deviant involuntary sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent exposure, non forcible rape (incest and statutory rape), harassment by communication (using lewd and lascivious words or language), and stalking. Students who are victims of rape or other sex offenses are encouraged to report the incident to residence hall staff, the Dean of Students office staff, counseling services staff, campus ministry staff, or any other appropriate member of the College community. Victims of rape are advised not to change clothes or shower prior to a medical examination.

The investigation of serious criminal and sexual misconduct occurring at Juniata College is investigated by the Huntingdon Borough Police and assisted by College administrators. Student services staff and any other appropriate member of the College community are available for support and advocacy for victims throughout the course of the process. Victims may choose to press criminal charges. Depending on the findings of the investigation, the College can act to protect members of the community and separate an offender under the "Emergency and Extraordinary Situations" section of the Pathfinder.