Sexual misconduct devastates. It traumatizes its victims. It can destroy the lives of both the accuser and the accused. Sexual assault, discrimination, harassment, and other forms of misconduct are, therefore, very serious. All Washington colleges and universities need to investigate all related allegations quickly and mete out justice if a student deserves punishment.
However, in cases of unfounded allegations and false accusations, a university may move too quickly to determine guilt correctly and can make missteps along the way. In these cases, an unwarranted claim of sexual misconduct can make life very difficult for an accused student, and it can do so very unfairly.
If you are a Washington college student facing accusations of sexual misconduct, it will be in your best interest to find an experienced attorney advisor immediately. Doing so will represent your best chance of a favorable outcome.
Sexual Misconduct in Washington State Colleges
Washington State ranks sixth in the nation for open federal investigations into sex discrimination and assault. According to the Talley Center for Counseling Services at the University of Mary Washington, 1 in 4 women experiences rape or attempted rape. The Association of American Universities recently corroborated these numbers in a recent widespread study.
The Washington State legislature weighed in on the issue as well, noting that "the issue of campus sexual violence is a serious issue for many students as well as poses a challenge to all of our institutions of higher education."
Different schools will have different policies, but for example, the University of Washington's sexual assault resources page states that sexual assault is a general term that can describe "any type of sexual activity that lacks consent."
Because this is necessarily a very vague definition, it is crucial to be careful and informed as you prepare for your sexual misconduct investigation. A charge of sexual misconduct will follow you for the rest of your life, so ensuring that you do as much as you can to avoid formal charges is critical.
What to Expect During a Sexual Misconduct Case at Your Washington College
As sexual misconduct at the university level is such a serious issue, federal and state laws govern the allegation, investigation, hearing, and adjudication processes very thoroughly. These processes are, therefore, similar from college to college. According to a University of Washington presentation on sexual misconduct, you may be able to expect the following events in your upcoming disciplinary procedures:
- After the accuser confirms their allegations, your school will appoint an investigator to the case and begin to collect evidence.
- The investigator will meet with the accuser and the accused, as well as any legal representation either party wishes to include. At this point, the investigator will educate both parties about any specific policies at your university as well as more general Department of Education regulations regarding sexual assault.
- The investigator will take time to review all the presented evidence before issuing a preliminary decision. This decision will determine whether your school will open a formal investigation into the case.
- During an investigation, the investigator will interview all directly involved parties as well as any witnesses. The investigator will also request all evidence related to the case, such as text messages or social media posts.
- As the investigator wraps up the investigation, they will send all involved parties a copy of the investigative report. You will then have a chance to submit written questions and receive answers.
- If your school offers you a hearing, you may bring your advisor with you.
- After the investigation or hearing, your school will meet out disciplinary action. Punishments may include, for example, a loss of privileges, probation, suspension, or expulsion.
- After your school publishes their final decision, you will have a chance to appeal their decision.
Sexual misconduct proceedings can be exhausting and overwhelming. If you are able, working with an experienced advisor can be a hugely beneficial step as you go through the process.
Student Discipline and Code of Conduct Cases Under Title IX
Title IX, a federal civil rights law that promises to protect students from sexual harassment and assault, has recently undergone significant changes. When you look for a defense advisor to assist you with your school sexual misconduct case, finding an advisor who has handled hundreds of cases under Title IX may be your best bet. The type of charges you face may not specifically fall under the new Title IX regulations, but an advisor with that type of experience will know precisely what to do.
An advisor with years of experience dealing with code of conduct and Title IX cases will be able to help guide you through the intricacies of your sexual misconduct case. Further, they may be able to:
- Help you hold your higher education institution accountable for their actions
- Act in your interest without disclosing confidential information
- Prepare you for any hearings offered so you can use the opportunity to your best advantage
Since there is so much at stake during your sexual misconduct investigation, it makes sense to be as prepared as you possibly can. Part of this preparation involves being proactive and working with a seasoned code of conduct advisor. Make sure that you access your school's code of conduct to inform yourself of the specific procedures at your school and make an appointment to work with a Title IX or Code of Conduct Advisor early on in your case.
A College Sexual Misconduct Advisor Ready to Assist You
When you're looking for a defense advisor to assist you with your Washington university sexual misconduct case, you're looking for experience and expertise. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has handled hundreds of student discipline and sexual misconduct cases under Title IX, and hundreds more under schools' Codes of Conduct, and he's ready to help you with your college sexual misconduct case today. For years he's helped students protect their rights at colleges and universities across the United States, and he can assist now with yours, whether it's going through the investigative process or facing adjudication through a hearing. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to learn more about how he can best help you and your case.
Washington 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:
- Antioch University Seattle
- Argosy University Seattle
- Bates Technical College
- Bellevue College
- Bellingham Technical College
- Big Bend Community College
- Cascadia Community College
- Central Washington University
- Centralia College
- City University of Seattle
- Clark College
- Clover Park Technical College
- Columbia Basin College
- Cornish College of the Arts
- DeVry University Washington
- DigiPen Institute of Technology
- Eastern Washington University
- Edmonds Community College
- Everest College Bremerton
- Everest College Everett
- Everest College Tacoma
- Everest College Vancouver
- Everett Community College
- Faith Evangelical College & Seminary
- Gonzaga University
- Grays Harbor College
- Green River Community College
- Heritage University
- Highline Community College
- International Academy of Design and Technology Seattle
- ITT Technical Institute Everett
- ITT Technical Institute Seattle
- ITT Technical Institute Spokane Valley
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology
- Lower Columbia College
- Northwest Aviation College
- Northwest College of Art
- Northwest Indian College
- Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building
- Northwest University
- Olympic College
- Pacific Lutheran University
- Peninsula College
- Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom
- Pierce College at Puyallup
- Renton Technical College
- Saint Martin's University
- Seattle Community College Central Campus
- Seattle Community College North Campus
- Seattle Community College South Campus
- Seattle Pacific University
- Seattle University
- Shoreline Community College
- Skagit Valley College
- South Puget Sound Community College
- Spokane Community College
- Spokane Falls Community College
- Tacoma Community College
- The Art Institute of Seattle
- The Evergreen State College
- Trinity Lutheran College
- University of Phoenix Western Washington Campus
- University of Puget Sound
- University of Washington Bothell Campus
- University of Washington Seattle Campus
- University of Washington Tacoma Campus
- Walla Walla Community College
- Walla Walla University
- Washington State University
- Wenatchee Valley College
- Western Washington University
- Whatcom Community College
- Whitman College
- Whitworth University
- Yakima Valley Community College
It is critical to make certain the college sexual misconduct investigation at your Washington 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 Washington 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.