Schools take sexual misconduct allegations very seriously. The Department of Education requires schools to investigate sexual misconduct allegations of all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape. Failing to investigate sexual misconduct may result in universities losing federal funding.
Sexual misconduct is interpreted as a form of gender-based discrimination under Title IX policy since it prevents students from receiving equal access to education. Universities frequently move fast to remain compliant with this policy and avoid risking their federal funding.
Students may also face punishment for cases that fall outside of Title IX. Every university in Arizona has a student code of conduct that prohibits certain behavior. If sexual misconduct charges are brought forth, the school will move quickly to evaluate the case regardless of federal regulations.
If you're accused of sexual misconduct, you'll likely face an uphill battle to prove your innocence. Schools do not always provide fair and equal treatment during investigations. It's crucial to bring an Arizona college sexual misconduct advisor on board to help you through the process.
What is Considered College Sexual Misconduct?
Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination that harms another person. The Department of Education's new sexual misconduct policy redefined their interpretation of sexual misconduct. The new rule defines sexual misconduct as sexual assault, rape, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation.
To ensure a discrimination-free campus, Arizona universities may also prohibit other forms of sexual misconduct. Examples include unwelcome physical contact, derogatory comments, graphic images that show hostility to a group, and more. Any conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment may be considered sexual misconduct.
The punishment for sexual misconduct depends on the severity of the case. Consequences include probation, suspension, or expulsion from school. Perpetrators may also face long-term consequences. In severe cases, sexual misconduct can lead to criminal charges and issues finding employment, paying fees, or accessing education.
If you are facing a sexual misconduct allegation, you must contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Many students are stripped of their rights and face an unfair investigation by their school. Without the right defense, you may be vulnerable to these pitfalls in your case.
College Sexual Misconduct Laws in Arizona
The Department of Education's new policy means that many acts that were previously considered sexual misconduct now fall outside their definition.
In some sexual misconduct cases, Title IX will still apply. In cases that fall outside of Title IX jurisdiction, students may still face additional punishment through separate university policies.
The Arizona Board of Regents and university leadership has already implemented new sexual misconduct procedures at Arizona's three state universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. The changes will ensure that the universities remain in line with the Department of Education's new regulations.
One of the main discrepancies between the federal guidelines and local university guidelines has to do with mandatory reporting by college coaches. Under the new federal policy, college coaches are not required to report sexual misconduct violations. The new policy at the three universities states that any coaches or “individuals charged with supervisory authority” must report Title IX or anti-harassment violations. The Arizona Board of Regents also announced that each university must establish a process for addressing Title IX complaints, and they must have at least one Title IX coordinator.
Based on local university response, it's likely that leadership will refine its policies to be compliant with the new guidelines. However, other sexual misconduct violations outside of the scope of Title IX will still result in punishment.
The Benefits of Using an Attorney-Advisor
Sexual misconduct charges should not be taken lightly. A student facing accusations faces severe punishment by both their school and the state. That's not to mention the psychological toll, damage to reputation, and strain on personal relationships.
If you or someone you know is facing sexual misconduct allegations, it's crucial to contact an attorney. Since schools use their own methods of investigation for sexual misconduct cases that fall outside Title IX, they decide how to proceed. In many cases, universities will prosecute students without substantial evidence. They may punish students for unfounded allegations or infringe upon students' rights during the investigation. An attorney can push back against unfair practices and threaten a litigation hold against the school.
Universities also recommend students use a school advisor to help them during investigations. Although these advisors may provide quality representation, they may use students' words against them. You don't want confidential information coming back to bite you in a school investigation or criminal trial. Choosing a lawyer bound by the attorney-client privilege is the best option. They will practice discretion, so that case details do not become public knowledge.
What to Do if Accused of Sexual Misconduct at College
The first step after being accused of sexual misconduct is to contact an attorney. Attorneys have the strong legal knowledge and the experience necessary to ensure a fair investigation.
Attorneys are equipped to prepare your defense and increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome. Not only can they gather evidence, but they can advise you on the steps to take during the investigation. They know how to avoid potential pitfalls that threaten your case.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has handled hundreds of sexual misconduct cases. He has the experience and knowledge necessary to fight for a positive outcome and to push back against any infringement of rights. Mr. Lento can guide you through your live hearing to give you the best possible defense.
Experienced Arizona Sexual Misconduct Advisor
If you are facing sexual misconduct allegations, the Lento Law Firm is here for you. For many years, Joseph D. Lento has worked to become one of the preeminent experts in college sexual misconduct defense. He has fought for countless students and helped to protect their reputation, anonymity, and freedom. Give the Lento Law Firm a call at 888-535-3686 for the help you need.
Arizona colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's college sexual misconduct advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- American Indian College of the Assemblies of God, Inc.
- Argosy University Phoenix
- Argosy University Phoenix Online Division
- Arizona Christian University
- Arizona College of Allied Health
- Arizona State University
- Arizona Western College
- Brown Mackie College Phoenix
- Brown Mackie College Tucson
- Central Arizona College
- Chamberlain College of Nursing Arizona
- Chandler/Gilbert Community College
- Cochise College
- Coconino Community College
- College America Flagstaff
- CollegeAmerica Phoenix
- Collins College
- DeVry University Arizona
- Dine College
- Eastern Arizona College
- Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott
- Estrella Mountain Community College
- Everest College Phoenix
- Everest College Phoenix
- Fortis College Phoenix
- GateWay Community College
- Glendale Community College
- Golf Academy of America Chandler
- Grand Canyon University
- International Baptist College
- ITT Technical Institute Phoenix
- ITT Technical Institute Phoenix West
- ITT Technical Institute Tempe
- ITT Technical Institute Tucson
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Scottsdale
- Mesa Community College
- Mohave Community College
- National Paralegal College
- Northcentral University Prescott
- Northern Arizona University
- Northland Pioneer College
- Paradise Valley Community College
- Phoenix College
- Pima Community College
- Prescott College
- Rio Salado College
- Sanford Brown College Phoenix
- Scottsdale Community College
- South Mountain Community College
- Southwest University of Visual Arts Tucson
- The Art Institute of Phoenix
- The Art Institute of Tucson
- Tohono O'Odham Community College
- University of Advancing Technology
- University of Arizona
- University of Phoenix Online Campus
- University of Phoenix Phoenix Hohokam Campus
- University of Phoenix Southern Arizona Campus
- Western International University
- Yavapai College
It is critical to make certain the college sexual misconduct investigation at your Arizona school is handled properly and that the accused student's interests are protected from as early as possible during the sexual misconduct investigative process. One major reason is because even at colleges and universities where a finding of responsibility for sexual misconduct charges is made at a hearing, the investigation will set the stage for what the hearing panel is provided prior to a hearing (and what the hearing panel will in large part rely on at a hearing), and at schools where the finding of responsibility is made solely through the investigative process, what takes place during the investigation itself will determine whether the accused is found responsible or not responsible for college sexual misconduct charges.
Unfortunately, some students, families, and college employees make the mistake of not taking the necessary precautions as soon as possible when accused of sexual misconduct at college. Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their college or university will be fair and impartial and will arrive at the truth. In a perfect world this may be the case, but in a perfect world, sexual misconduct cases would not exist.
Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation for many years, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that an accused's academic and professional future is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a college sexual misconduct advisor to students and others in academia facing sexual misconduct investigations and Title IX disciplinary cases in Arizona and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National College Sexual Misconduct Attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686 or by completing our online form.