Are You Facing Sexual Misconduct Allegations In New Mexico?
If you are a New Mexico college student facing sexual misconduct allegations, the first step is to find an attorney-advisor to help you understand and protect your rights. Sexual misconduct charges can have serious consequences for your academic career and future professional opportunities.
The following are some examples of sanctions your college could impose if your case has a negative outcome:
- Withholding Diploma or Degree
- Revocation of Admission or Degree
Schools often move quickly to address any sexual misconduct reporting or complaints, sometimes at the expense of a fair process for the accused. On your own, without the advice of an attorney-advisor, you could unwittingly hurt your case right from the start.
Know Your Rights, Be Prepared, And Protect Information
Each school has its own policies and procedures of governance for sexual misconduct cases, which can be found in your university's Code of Conduct or Student Handbook. Carefully review what the process for your investigation and hearing will be. Communication can be used against you in the hearing. Under no circumstances should you speak with your accuser or discuss your situation with anyone at school. Additionally, if campus police or safety officials ask you questions about the incident, politely remind them that you are not obliged to answer. Keep a detailed log of communication related to your case and gather any relevant evidence or documents. Your attorney-advisor will review everything, make suggestions, if necessary regarding obtaining witnesses and further supporting documentation, and build the strongest defense possible for you.
An Experienced Attorney-Adviser Is The Right Choice
Your college might offer you the choice to use a school advisor to represent you and help you navigate the complexities of the investigation process, but this is not a good option. Advisors employed by the school aren't necessarily on your side and can give any information you tell them to university staff. This not only destroys your confidentiality, but your college can use this information against you when deciding your case. Additionally, you need someone who is solely dedicated to your cause. Regrettably, a school advisor's sole focus is not your case and your concerns. They will never be able to effectively serve the role that is needed for such a high stakes process. Attorney Joseph D. Lento, with years of trial experience, can provide expert guidance and secure you the best outcome in your case. Give Lento Law Firm a call at (888) 535-3686.
New Title IX Rules Restore Rights To The Accused
The Federal Government's Department of Education announced that the New Title IX regulations (also known as the “Final Rule”) would rebalance the “scales of justice.” Education Secretary DeVos and supporters of the Final Rule believe that previous Obama-era Title IX policies were too centered on accusers and denied the accused due process rights. Organizations such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Independent Women’s Forum have endorsed the Final Rule because these regulations are a huge step forward from what had existed previously. Not everyone agrees.
Live Hearings Allow For A Fairer Process
Laura Dunn, who represents accusers in sexual misconduct cases and is the founder of SurvJustice, believes live hearings benefit both the accuser and the accused. She recognizes that live hearings allow you to have them both be seen, compared and have their credibility assessed. Cross-examination is especially critical if you are falsely accused of sexual misconduct. The right to conduct cross-examinations allows you to question your accuser's account of what happened directly. The old Title IX had a lower burden of proof, and proceedings could be manipulated to prove guilt without sufficient evidence. As a result, many innocent students had their educational career, reputations, and future prospects damaged by false accusations of sexual misconduct. For some advocates of Title IX reform, like Jonathan Taylor, founder of Title IX For All, the Final Rule is “a good start, [but] it doesn't go far enough...False allegations of harassment are harassment. Many schools, for example, do not punish false accusers and I think that's an area, that if there's been serious damage to the reputation of the accused, that should be evaluated."
College Policies Picks Up Where Title IX Leaves Off
If you face sexual misconduct allegations, the Title IX Final Rule, which are the "new rules", offer you better protection but have a narrower scope, and therefore pertain to fewer cases than the previous Title IX regulations. The Final Rule explicitly states that sexual misconduct allegations against students or employees that do not fall under Title IX jurisdiction may be handled "in any manner the school chooses." In fact, many colleges have stated their intentions to continue to pursue college sexual misconduct allegations with the same level of severity, under their Code of Conduct regulations. What this means for respondents is that schools will often pursue sexual misconduct allegations against respondents under a separate system which will not have the same potential protections and due process rights that are arguably afforded under the Title IX Final Rule. Both processes to address campus sexual misconduct, under the Title IX Final Rule or under a school's Code of Conduct, are far from perfect, but college and university sexual misconduct policies which pick up where Title IX left off have the strong potential for not affording respondents the necessary protections and due process rights.
Experienced New Mexico Sexual Misconduct Advisor
If you are facing allegations of sexual misconduct, you can't rely on the new Title IX protections to help you, since colleges still have latitude to determine policy that can stack the cards against you. Finding the right attorney-advisor can make or break your defense. For many years, attorney Joseph D. Lento has fought for students' rights while gaining a reputation as one of the country's preeminent experts in Title IX and college sexual misconduct cases and student discipline defense.
Give Lento Law Firm a call at (888) 535-3686 for a case consultation today. They will answer your questions and help you defend your rights.
New Mexico 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:
- Brown Mackie College Albuquerque
- Central New Mexico Community College
- Clovis Community College
- Computer Career Center
- Eastern New Mexico University Main Campus
- Eastern New Mexico University Roswell Campus
- Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso Campus
- Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture
- ITT Technical Institute Albuquerque
- Luna Community College
- Mesalands Community College
- National American University Albuquerque
- National American University Rio Rancho
- Navajo Technical College
- New Mexico Highlands University
- New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
- New Mexico Junior College
- New Mexico Military Institute
- New Mexico State University Alamogordo
- New Mexico State University Carlsbad
- New Mexico State University Dona Ana
- New Mexico State University Grants
- New Mexico State University Main Campus
- Northern New Mexico College
- San Juan College
- Santa Fe Community College
- Santa Fe University of Art and Design
- Southwest University of Visual Arts Albuquerque
- St John's College
- University of New Mexico Gallup Campus
- University of New Mexico Los Alamos Campus
- University of New Mexico Main Campus
- University of New Mexico Taos Campus
- University of New Mexico Valencia County Campus
- University of Phoenix Albuquerque Campus
- University of the Southwest
- Western New Mexico University
It is critical to make certain the college sexual misconduct investigation at your New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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.