In the era of “Me Too,” the issue of sexual harassment and assault, which was at one point discreetly discussed and acknowledged, has been catapulted onto a national platform.
Among the environments where this behavior proves to be rampant, higher education is near the top of the list. An alarmingly high number of students report being sexually harassed or assaulted on campus. For years now, schools have been tasked with adjudicating complaints of sexual misconduct through the enforcement of Title IX guidance. If accused, students are to undergo a complex process utilized to determine the guilt or innocence of respondents.
The question of whether or not the process itself and its enforcement are fair is contentiously debated today. But regardless of these concerns, one thing is for certain: false accusations are devastating. Although it is rare to be falsely accused, they do occur. And if you happen to be on the receiving end of one, it's important you plan your next steps carefully.
Here are a few mistakes that can be detrimental to you and your case in the aftermath of false accusations:
You don't retain an attorney
The single most important thing you can do in your predicament is to retain an attorney. An attorney's role as an advisor in your case is invaluable, as they'll do most of the legwork to ensure your voice is heard and to get as close to an equitable process as possible. A large part of this process - in the event that there is a live hearing - is to collect evidence and build a solid defense. Legal professionals like Joseph D. Lento have had ample experience doing this effectively. Not to mention, that an attorney will also be able to provide you with realistic options regarding litigations or a potential appeal depending on your circumstances.
You don't document your experiences with officials and your accuser
Consistently documenting every encounter with school administrators and an accuser is critical. Each time you converse with these parties, whether it be in person or through e-mail, provide a rundown of what they told you to make sure that there is always a mutual understanding of what was said. It's so easy for conflicting accounts of what was said to turn into “he said, she said.” This is why recording every single interaction is important.
You confront/harass/threaten the complainant
In most cases, a no-contact order is imposed upon parties involved in a complaint. Even if there isn't one, in any case, you should refrain from confronting your accuser. Of course, you're angry and confused about your accusations, but taking these emotions out on a complainant only makes you look guilty and reckless.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.