The weight of a sexual misconduct allegation can destroy your life. Schools and universities across the board take a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to dealing with sexual misconduct. They want to make sure that they protect students, and if they fail to move quickly, the repercussions for the school can be extremely damaging. Because of this, if you find yourself on the wrong side of a sexual misconduct allegation at your school, you need to take it as seriously as possible.
If you're facing sexual misconduct allegations, know that federal law Title IX allows accused parties to choose an advisor that can be by their side throughout the entire hearing process at their school. In order to protect your future, you need to make sure that the advisor you choose is an actual attorney. You need someone who knows the law and who's ready to do whatever it takes to protect your future.
Don't wait. The moments that you hear about the allegation, you need to reach out to a Title IX attorney immediately. Title IX is an extremely complicated law with many layers. Someone who is not familiar with the law could get themselves into serious trouble if they tried to navigate the process alone.
What Exactly Is Title IX
Title IX is a federal law that the United States passed in 1972. The entire point of the law was to deal with and eliminate sexual discrimination that takes place in American educational programs. From that moment on, it became the primary tool with which most educational facilities in the country dealt with sexual misconduct allegations. This includes schools, universities, and other types of learning facilities.
One thing that makes Title IX difficult to navigate - and why it's more important than ever to have an attorney on your side when dealing with it - is the fact that it's extremely tricky and often subject to change based on who's in the White House.
In 2020 during the Trump era, enforcement guidelines were completely overhauled. When Pres. Biden took office in 2021, the goal from his administration was to overhaul and repeal many of those guidelines. By June 2021, the administration has included transgender students as a protected group under Title IX.
How Does Title IX Work?
At its most basic level, Title IX works as follows:
- An official complaint is filed with your school's Title IX coordinator. The only people who can sign the complaint are the coordinator or the complainant.
- The Title IX coordinator has to notify the respondent of the charges as soon as the accusation has been made. This notice will include the name of the complainant and any details surrounding the alleged assault allegation. When the respondent receives this notice, they must be made aware of their rights. They have the right to be presumed “not responsible,” and they have the right to choose an advisor. This is the point that you need to reach out to an attorney experienced with Title IX cases.
- Once the respondent has been notified, the coordinator will then choose an investigator who will be tasked with looking into the matter. The investigator will meet with both the respondent and the complainant. The investigator is allowed to collect any physical evidence, and they will interview any witnesses as necessary.
- Once the investigator completes the investigation, they will write a full report of their findings. Both the complainant and the respondent are allowed to read over the document and make requests for changes before the document is sent back to be Title IX coordinator.
- At this point, a decision will be made. If this Title IX case is taking place at the university or college level, the respondent is allowed to defend themselves via a live hearing. If this Title IX case is taking place on the high school or K-12 level, there is an option to hold hearings, but there is no requirement to do so. In those cases, the coordinator can assign a single decision-maker who will look over both sides of the story and render a verdict.
- When it comes to a Title IX hearing, both the respondent and the complainant are represented by their advisors. Both sides are allowed to call witnesses and introduce evidence. They also have the right to cross-examine each other, and they can cross-examine each other's witnesses.
- The hearing may be heard by a panel or by a single decision-maker. Decision-makers are supposed to make the decisions based on a “preponderance of the evidence.” A preponderance of the evidence means that the decision-makers need to be only just over 50% convinced that the respondent is guilty in order to find them responsible.
- Both sides can appeal the decision. In most cases, the decision window is ten days from the decision. They may only be filed under certain conditions. They can be filed if there is new evidence has been discovered, there they can be filed if there is a clear mistake in the way Title IX procedures were handled, or they can be appealed if there was obvious bias on the part of one of the Title IX officials.
Why Are These Hearings So Critical?
When you're dealing with your Title IX hearing, you may hear from the school that sanctions come in many different shapes and sizes, including written warnings, counseling, and restitution. Don't take that at face value. In most cases, suspension is usually the minimum penalty. In many cases, students who are found responsible for sexual misconduct are usually expelled.
Expulsion can result in many damaging results far beyond simply being asked to leave school. A sexual misconduct guilty verdict on your record can completely eliminate your chances of applying to any other school, graduate schools, and it can derail your entire future.
How Can An Attorney Help?
Title IX allegations need to be taken extremely seriously. It isn't just about fighting for your reputation on campus, but it's also about fighting for your future.
The Lento Law Firm has spent years working on Title IX cases for its clients. Attorney Joseph D. Lento knows the law, and he and his expert team are determined to help students understand the intricacies of the law, defend themselves during hearings, and make sure they present themselves in the best way possible.
Reach out for help at 888-535-3686 today to schedule an evaluation of your case. Your future may depend on it.
Colorado colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Adams State College
- Aims Community College
- American Sentinel University
- Arapahoe Community College
- Argosy University Denver
- Bel Rea Institute of Animal Technology
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy
- College America Colorado Springs
- College America Denver
- College America Fort Collins
- Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology
- Colorado Christian University
- Colorado College
- Colorado Heights University
- Colorado Mesa University
- Colorado Mountain College
- Colorado Northwestern Community College
- Colorado School of Healing Arts
- Colorado School of Mines
- Colorado State University Fort Collins
- Colorado State University Pueblo
- Colorado Technical University Colorado Springs
- Colorado Technical University Greenwood Village
- Colorado Technical University Online
- Community College of Aurora
- Community College of Denver
- Denver School of Nursing
- DeVry University Colorado
- Ecotech Institute
- Everest College Aurora
- Everest College Colorado Springs
- Everest College Thornton
- Fort Lewis College
- Front Range Community College
- Institute of Business and Medical Careers
- ITT Technical Institute Aurora
- ITT Technical Institute Westminster
- Johnson & Wales University Denver
- Jones International University
- Lamar Community College
- Metropolitan State College of Denver
- Morgan Community College
- Naropa University
- National American University Centennial
- National American University Colorado Springs
- National American University Colorado Springs South
- National American University Denver
- Nazarene Bible College
- Northeastern Junior College
- Otero Junior College
- Pikes Peak Community College
- Platt College Aurora
- Prince Institute Rocky Mountains
- Pueblo Community College
- Red Rocks Community College
- Redstone College
- Regis University
- Remington College Colorado Springs Campus
- Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
- The Art Institute of Colorado
- Trinidad State Junior College
- United States Air Force Academy (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
- University of Colorado Boulder
- University of Colorado Denver
- University of Colorado Colorado Springs
- University of Denver
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Phoenix Colorado Campus
- University of Phoenix Southern Colorado Campus
- Western State Colorado University
- Westwood College Denver North
- Westwood College Denver South
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. 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 and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Colorado and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.