If you have recently discovered that you face accusations of sexual misconduct, you're probably confused. You might experience frustration. You might wonder what's ahead - and if there's anything you can possibly do to help make your situation better.
Fortunately, there is.
As your school investigates all claims of sexual misconduct, you can work to protect your rights. With the aid of an experienced legal team, it's entirely possible to put together a strong case to suggest your innocence.
There's a lot at stake in your upcoming Title IX or sexual misconduct case at Duke University. Know that you have options, as long as you're able to start now.
Title IX: Duke University's Sexual Misconduct Policies
Recently, the United States Government made some changes to Title IX that have slightly changed some of the legal processes that many schools follow. Since the allegations leading to Title IX cases and the investigative and disciplinary procedures remain largely the same, many schools will adapt their pre-existing Title IX processes to address Title IX cases as well as more general sexual misconduct incidents.
Duke University is one such institution. Its publication, the Duke Today, reported in July of 2020 that the Title IX updates - which Duke implemented by August of 2020 - would “only apply to a subset” of school sexual misconduct cases.
According to the Duke Office for Institutional Equity, Duke University is “proactive in its efforts to address and reduce instances of sexual misconduct”. This, in part, means that Duke University encourages individuals to report allegations of misconduct.
While this is certainly protective for victims of sexual misconduct, it also creates a perfect atmosphere for false accusations to fly wildly. Unfair allegations of sexual misconduct can have huge ramifications on your reputation and career. If you are facing charges of sexual misconduct at Duke University, you need to find an experienced legal advisor to help you work towards a favorable outcome.
Duke University: Your School's Sexual Misconduct Policy
The Duke University Student Affairs website has a host of information that you, as the respondent (or person alleged to have committed misconduct) can use to hold your school accountable.
It first makes clear that Duke University prohibits all sexual misconduct. This includes violence, exploitation, harassment, and stalking. Student Affairs details several other examples of unacceptable behavior, which may involve:
- Unwelcome questioning regarding intimate or personal subjects
- Unwelcome touching
- Pervasive, persistent, or severe sexual jokes or comments
- Pervasive, persistent, or severe comments or actions regarding another person's sexual orientation or gender identity
- Sending emails with sexual themes
- Using derogatory language in a targeted, sexual way
- Non-sexual physical assault because of a victim's sex or gender
As you can see, there are many actions that could trigger a complaint, and then a Title IX or sexual misconduct investigation. Collecting evidence to support your claims (or the claims against you) can be difficult. That's why it's vital that you don't go through this alone.
Unfortunately, your school may subconsciously side with the apparent victim of the alleged incident. This means that you need a seasoned lawyer to help you argue your case.
At Duke University, these types of investigations are supposed to last 45-60 days (although in practice, this is often not the case as cases often last longer). After this time, the school will make a determination as to your guilt, and will issue suggestions for penalties. Once the school issues its decision, you will have a short time (five business days) to appeal that decision. In order to stand a chance of being successful with an appeal, you'll likely need one of two things:
- New evidence or information that is materially significant for your case, or
- Evidence of procedural error during your investigation.
Your lawyer can help you navigate investigations, hearings, appeals, and more to aggressively ensure you have the best chance you can. There's too much at stake to do otherwise. Students facing sexual misconduct cases at Duke University need to reach out to legal aid as quickly as they can.
The Consequences of Alleged Sexual Misconduct at Duke University
If your school determines that you are responsible for the incident, you may face unpleasant short-term penalties and long-term consequences. At Duke University, you could face the following penalties:
- Conduct warnings
- Indefinite Expulsion
- Ineligibility to hold student office
- Ineligibility for merit- or need-based funding (including any funding you may have already earned)
- Removal from sports teams or other groups representing the school
- Loss of privileges (such as campus parking or extracurricular activities)
- Loss of campus housing
These punitive measures vary, but don't represent the whole of what you could experience. Having a report of sexual misconduct on your permanent record, be it your disciplinary record and/or academic transcript, even if unwarranted, will make it very difficult for you to go about your future as you had planned. When you apply for jobs, scholarships, and further education in the future, this information may disqualify you as a candidate.
Ultimately, your alleged sexual misconduct could impact much of the rest of your life as you begin a career. That's why it's vital to work with an experienced, clever sexual misconduct advisor as early as you can in your case's adjudication. The right lawyer can help you build a strong case to prove your innocence.
Joseph D. Lento is an Experienced, Skillful Sexual Misconduct Legal Advisor
When you face accusations of sexual misconduct, you need experience and expertise to help you protect your rights. Luckily, Joseph D. Lento can provide both. If you're frustrated and confused about what to do next, worry no longer. For years, Joseph D. Lento has aggressively fought for students facing sexual misconduct charges. He can successfully help you prepare for adjudication by a hearing or assist through an investigation. Whether you're a student at Duke University or anywhere else in the United States, Joseph D. Lento will be there to help you protect your rights. For more information about how we can help you, reach out to the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.