Dealing With Sexual Misconduct Charges at Maryville University of Saint Louis

If you've been accused of sexual misconduct by your college or university, you need to know now: the situation is serious. Sexual misconduct allegations aren't just subject to school policy. Federal law says your school must investigate all credible accusations and dictates how all investigations and adjudications must occur. If you should be found “Responsible” (guilty), the minimum penalty you're likely to face is suspension. Expulsion is the outcome in most cases.

A serious situation demands a serious response. What does that mean? It means you need to prepare yourself for what you're about to face. You need to know your rights; you need to know what the investigation will look like; you need to know the rules that govern hearings in these cases.

A serious response also means you don't try to handle it all on your own. Sexual misconduct cases are governed by federal law, and you need someone on your side who knows that law. You need a Title IX attorney like Joseph D. Lento.

Title IX and Sexual Misconduct

If you've been accused of misconduct at Maryville University of Saint Louis, someone has probably already mentioned Title IX. That's because the school handles most allegations using this federal law.

Title IX was originally passed in 1972. It prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment in all federally-funded education programs, including colleges and universities. In addition to this general prohibition, the law set up a set of rigid guidelines for how cases should proceed.

You can find a full description of how Maryville University of Saint Louis implements the law in its Sexual Harassment Policy. Here are the basics of what you need to know, though.

  • Like all schools, your school has a Title IX Coordinator who directs most aspects of sexual misconduct cases. Any formal charges originate with this official. In fact, only a Complainant (alleged victim) or the Coordinator may sign a complaint against you.
  • If you are under investigation, you are entitled to Notice of the Charges. This notice should include details about the allegations and the name of the Complainant.
  • Title IX gives you a number of other important rights as well. These include:
    • The right to equal treatment to the Complainant in all matters
    • The right to an advisor, who may be an attorney
    • The right to a presumption of Not Responsible (innocent) until proven Responsible
    • The right to review all evidence in the case
    • The right to investigators and decision-makers who are free of bias
    • The right to advanced notification of all meetings and hearings
  • The Coordinator's next job is to appoint an Investigator to gather the facts of the case.
  • The Investigator typically begins by meeting separately with both sides in the case. As the investigation continues, they also interview potential witnesses and collect any physical evidence.
  • At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator must submit an unbiased report on their findings. Both sides have ten days in which to review this report and suggest revisions.
  • The Investigative Report is forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator sets a time and date for a live hearing and appoints a Hearing Officer to preside over this hearing.
  • The hearing is your chance to defend yourself by presenting evidence and calling witnesses to testify on your behalf. In addition, you can question the Complainant and any witnesses against you. Only advisors may ask these questions, however. If you do not have an advisor, the school must provide one, though they are under no obligation to furnish you with an attorney.
  • Ultimately, the Hearing Officer must decide whether or not you are Responsible for an offense. In making this determination, they use a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence.” In simple terms, if they believe it is more than fifty percent likely that you committed a violation, they must find you Responsible.
  • Finally, you have the right to Notice of the Outcome of the hearing and the right to appeal that outcome. Note that appeals must be filed within seven days of receiving this notice. In addition, grounds for appeal are strictly limited to
    • The discovery of new evidence that has a direct bearing on the case outcome
    • Procedural errors that may have affected the outcome
    • Bias on the part of a Title IX official

Non-Title IX Cases

As of August 2020, off-campus incidents are no longer subject to Title IX enforcement. That does not mean, however, that your school will ignore such accusations. In fact, Maryville University of Saint Louis responded to changes in the law by incorporating sexual misconduct into its own Student Code of Conduct. In other words, so-called “Non-Title IX” incidents are subject to the same procedures as any other violation of this code.

While these procedures are not formalized in the way Title IX procedures are, the two kinds of cases resemble one another in most respects. That is, the school conducts an investigation and allows you to defend yourself at a hearing; you are presumed “not responsible” until proven “responsible; and you may select an advisor who may be an attorney.

Keep in mind, though, that because these Non-Title IX cases aren't subject to federal law, the school isn't necessarily obligated to respect your rights the way it would be under Title IX. In such cases, it can be even more crucial to have an attorney on your side, someone who can monitor whether the school is treating you fairly.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed defense attorney. He's not just a defense attorney, though. Joseph D. Lento is what's known as a Title IX attorney. What does that mean? It means Joseph D. Lento built his career defending students just like you from sexual misconduct charges. He has studied the law and knows it inside and out. It means Joseph D. Lento knows how schools operate. He knows the tactics they often use, and he knows how to counter those tactics. Most importantly, though, it means Joseph D. Lento is on your side. He understands what you're going through, and he'll do everything he can to make sure you're treated fairly and that you get the best possible resolution to your case.

If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, don't wait to see what the school or the other side will do. Begin building your case now. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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