College sexual misconduct is a serious matter that can have a significant impact on the life of the people involved. Since it is such a big issue, many universities have cracked down of instances of sexual misconduct at their schools. Depending on the facts of the case, the punishments for sexual misconduct can be severe. Students face life-changing consequences like suspension and expulsion and related concerns which can impact academic and career opportunities.
The United States Department of Education also requires schools to investigate all instances of sexual misconduct to prevent gender discrimination. Missouri schools also have their own student codes of conduct. These guidelines may further prohibit sexual misconduct that falls outside the scope of Title IX. As a result, they may investigate and punish students for violations as they see fit.
Students accused of sexual misconduct should consult an attorney right away. They can protect student rights and push back against unfair processes. Here's what you need to know should you or someone you know be accused of sexual misconduct.
What is College Sexual Misconduct?
The United States Department of Education required universities to implement new sexual misconduct regulations by August 14, 2020. The new rules significantly change the way universities deal with sexual misconduct violations that occur on campus.
The guidelines state that universities no longer have to investigate acts of sexual misconduct that occur in areas where the school does not have “substantial control over the respondent.” According to this rule, schools don't have to investigate incidents that take place in off-campus housing or outside of the U.S., such as on a study abroad trip.
The Department of Education also reframed their definition of the term “sexual misconduct.” The term sexual misconduct now refers to sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. It also states that schools are subject to punishment if they have “actual knowledge” about misconduct. Formerly, this rule said schools could be punished if they “reasonably should” have known about an assault. Schools must abide by these guidelines to receive federal funding from the Department of Education.
Although these changes exclude certain types of misconduct and may limit Title IX jurisdiction in certain instances, students should not take sexual misconduct lightly. They may still be vulnerable to additional sanctions should they break school policies. Schools can still punish any violations of their student codes of conduct.
Students may still be held responsible if they participate in other types of misconduct—like sexual exploitation or unwelcome physical contact. Additionally, schools can choose to investigate acts that occur off-campus and will in all likelihood continue to do so.
Missouri College Sexual Misconduct Policies
Missouri's universities have responded to the Department of Education's guidelines by revising their existing sexual misconduct policies. Their new policies change how sexual misconduct cases are investigated.
The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved a new approach to comply with the changes. Their system now allows for party advisors to cross-examine parties and witnesses during a hearing. Previously, advisors and attorneys could not directly participate in sexual misconduct hearings.
Title IX may be federal policy, but schools still have the right to enforce additional policies of their choosing. Moving forward, some schools may enforce both Title IX and school policies to curb sexual misconduct.
Consequences of Sexual Misconduct at Missouri Colleges
Students charged with sexual misconduct at Missouri colleges face a wide range of consequences. Since sexual misconduct on college campuses is such a prevalent issue, universities frequently enforce harsh punishments against students found guilty of misconduct.
Punishments vary depending on the facts of the case as well as the school. It's also important to note that universities might move quickly to resolve sexual misconduct cases. They can infringe upon student rights and make biased determinations against the defendant. This can lead to unfair punishments that affect students for years to come.
Here are a few of the possible common sexual misconduct punishments for college students in Missouri:
- Probationary period
- Expulsion from the school and affiliated organizations
- Loss of student housing
- Loss of financial aid
- Rehabilitation programs
- Violation added to permanent record
- Fees paid to the victim
- Difficulty finding employment
- Damage to reputation
What to Do if Accused of College Sexual Misconduct
A sexual misconduct charge can seriously jeopardize your future. To protect yourself, you should avoid speaking with anyone other than a trusted advisor about the case. Anything you say can be used against you during the investigation.
Your first step is to reach out to an experienced attorney right away. An attorney can help you collect evidence, draft a statement, interview witnesses, and provide expert counsel to defend yourself against the charges. Attorneys have the experience and legal know-how to represent you in this serious matter.
Unlike school advisors, attorneys will help you maintain confidentiality during the process. School advisors can relay any of the information you give them to school administrators. This can not only hurt your case, but it can also damage your reputation. You won't have to worry about your attorney sharing critical details about your case with others. They will make sure you're protected and that any information you give them won't be used against you.
Sexual misconduct cases not only affect the reputation of students; they can also impact the reputation of the school. Your university may have the incentive to take action even with false accusations. Even worse, they may infringe upon your rights, may try to quickly resolve the case, or may not afford you the necessary due process. Attorneys can help you fight back against these unfair practices. They will work to restore your rights and ensure a fair investigation throughout your case.
Missouri College Sexual Misconduct Advisor
If you attend a college or university in Missouri and you've been accused of sexual misconduct, you need to speak with an attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are highly experienced in fighting for student rights and achieving positive determinations. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 for the help you need.
Missouri 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:
- Avila University
- Baptist Bible College and Graduate School
- Brown Mackie College St Louis
- Bryan University Springfield
- Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary
- Central Bible College
- Central Christian College of the Bible
- Central Methodist University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Chamberlain College of Nursing Missouri
- College of the Ozarks
- Colorado Technical University Kansas City
- Columbia College
- Conception Seminary College
- Cottey College
- Cox College
- Crowder College
- Culver Stockton College
- DeVry University Missouri
- Drury University
- East Central College
- Evangel University
- Everest College Springfield
- Fontbonne University
- Grantham University
- Hannibal LaGrange University
- Harris Stowe State University
- Hickey College
- ITT Technical Institute Arnold
- ITT Technical Institute Earth City
- ITT Technical Institute Kansas City
- ITT Technical Institute Springfield
- Jefferson College
- Kansas City Art Institute
- Kenrick Glennon Seminary
- L'Ecole Culinaire
- Lincoln University
- Lindenwood University
- Linn State Technical College
- Maryville University of Saint Louis
- Messenger College
- Metro Business College Arnold
- Metro Business College Cape Girardeau
- Metro Business College Jefferson City
- Metro Business College Rolla
- Metropolitan Community College Blue River
- Metropolitan Community College Business & Technology
- Metropolitan Community College Longview
- Metropolitan Community College Maple Woods
- Metropolitan Community College Penn Valley
- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Mineral Area College
- Missouri Baptist University
- Missouri College
- Missouri Southern State University
- Missouri State University Springfield
- Missouri State University West Plains
- Missouri Tech
- Missouri University of Science and Technology
- Missouri Valley College
- Missouri Western State University
- Moberly Area Community College
- National American University Independence
- National American University Lee's Summit
- National American University Zona Rosa
- North Central Missouri College
- Northwest Missouri State University
- Ozark Christian College
- Ozarks Technical Community College
- Park University
- Pinnacle Career Institute North Kansas City
- Pinnacle Career Institute South Kansas City
- Ranken Technical College
- Research College of Nursing
- Rockhurst University
- Saint Louis Christian College
- Saint Louis Community College
- Saint Louis University Main Campus
- Sanford Brown College Fenton
- Sanford Brown College Hazelwood
- Sanford Brown College St Peters
- Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences
- Southeast Missouri State University
- Southwest Baptist University
- St Charles Community College
- St Louis College of Health Careers Fenton
- St Louis College of Health Careers St Louis
- St Louis College of Pharmacy
- State Fair Community College
- Stephens College
- Stevens Institute of Business & Arts
- Texas County Technical College
- Three Rivers Community College
- Truman State University
- University of Central Missouri
- University of Missouri Columbia
- University of Missouri Kansas City
- University of Missouri St Louis
- University of Phoenix Kansas City Campus
- University of Phoenix Springfield Campus
- University of Phoenix St Louis Campus
- Vatterott College Berkeley
- Vatterott College
- Vatterott College Kansas City
- Vatterott College Saint Joseph
- Vatterott College Springfield
- Vatterott College St Charles
- Vatterott College Sunset Hills
- Washington University in St Louis
- Webster University
- Wentworth Military Academy & Junior College
- Westminster College
- William Jewell College
- William Woods University
It is critical to make certain the college sexual misconduct investigation at your Missouri 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 Missouri 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.