When it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct on college campuses, much of the discussion focuses on the rights of the accuser. School administrators and counselors go to great lengths to inform these students of their rights. In fact, many schools will agree to pursue an investigation without initially disclosing the identity of the accuser.
The schools rarely go to the same lengths to protect the confidentiality of the respondent, despite the fact that they have not yet been found to have violated Title IX. While the respondent in these cases is unlikely to be treated fairly, they do enjoy some important confidentiality protections under the law.
If you are facing allegations of sexual misconduct as a student, faculty, or staff member, you do not have to defend your rights alone. With the right legal counsel, you improve your chances of protecting confidentiality during the investigation. To discuss your rights, reach out to national student discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento right away.
Confidentiality for the Accused
According to Title IX, both the accuser and the respondent in a sexual misconduct investigation are entitled to confidentiality throughout the process. Unfortunately, this guarantee comes with a major caveat.
The Title IX rules require that schools only disclose information regarding the investigation to the parties involves, at least initially. While some school policies allow an accuser to remain anonymous during the course of the investigation, that right obviously does not extend to the person responding to the allegations.
While the accuser will obviously be aware of the identity of the respondent and have access to information regarding the investigation, the school is required to avoid publicizing the details of the investigation. This is designed to protect the respondent at a point where they have not yet been found to have committed any wrongdoing.
The important caveat for these rights is that the school has no obligation to guarantee confidentiality for either party. Under the rules, the administration can make aspects of the investigation public if they feel the failure to do so could be harmful to the student body.
The reality of these investigations is that they are not designed to protect the rights of the respondent. In fact, confidentiality requirements have hamstrung the respondent in defending themselves in the court of public opinion. It is not uncommon for allegations to reach the ears of the press. When they do, the respondent is often prevented from defending themselves publicly using any of the information from the disciplinary investigation.
The importance of Legal Counsel
While you might not be treated fairly if you face allegations of sexual abuse on campus, you do not have to face those allegations alone. Your attorney can work diligently to ensure your rights are protected, pushing back on efforts to violate your right to due process.
If you are facing accusations of sexual abuse or harassment on campus, attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. Contact him online or call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.