The federal law that guarantees equal access to higher education for people of different genders and sexual orientations is Title IX. Unfortunately, Title IX is tied to a school's federal funding, forcing colleges and universities in Utah to aggressively prosecute even the flimsiest allegations of sexual misconduct.
If you have been accused of sexual assault or even harassment on a Utah campus, you can expect your school to vigorously pursue a Title IX conviction. Having a lawyer as your Title IX advisor can make a huge difference.
You Have a Right to a Title IX Advisor
You have a right to a Title IX advisor if you have been accused of sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX. While some people in this position appoint a family or faculty member that they trust, this is a severely misguided approach; in addition to many related considerations, there are several things to be said for choosing an attorney, instead:
- Lawyers advocate on behalf of their clients in adversarial proceedings, every day
- Attorneys have honed the skills necessary to build and present your case effectively
- Title IX attorneys have an intimate understanding of how the Title IX investigation process works and know which pitfalls to avoid
- Hiring a lawyer shows your school that you mean to protect your rights and defend your interests
How Title IX Investigations Work in Utah
While every school has its own way of investigating and hearing a Title IX case, the differences are in the details. Nearly all institutions follow the same basic framework:
- Complaint. Title IX cases in Utah begin with a complaint being filed with the school, alleging sexual misconduct in violation of the statute and naming you as the defendant.
- Initial response. The initial response of the school is typically to file a no-contact order against you, prohibiting you from having any contact whatsoever with the person filing the complaint, even if that means reassigning housing or classes. Other "interim measures" taken by a school against a respondent during the pendency of the Title IX investigation, or at a later time at a minimum, is to ban an accused student from living on campus, from playing on sports teams, and/or from participating in other extracurricular activities. An "interim suspension" can also be imposed.
- Investigation. The school's Title IX officer or an independent investigator will examine the complaint and try to verify the allegation it contains. This often culminates in an interview with you, which carries serious implications in your Title IX case and can even lead to a criminal investigation, as well. Most schools determine an accused student's responsibility at the conclusion of the Title IX investigation. Some colleges and universities proceed to a Title IX hearing, however.
- Hearing. At schools that decide responsibility via the "hearing" model, the hearing is where a panel will be presented the evidence both for and against you. Schools have a wide variety of processes for this hearing, with every distinction having potential implications on the outcome of the case, so having a Title IX lawyer help you through this part is critical.
- Sanctions. If the panel finds that you violated Title IX, it will sanction you. These penalties range from a warning to expulsion.
- Appeals. You have a right to appeal your case, though you may have to show that there was a defect in the process or the sanction is excessive.
Utah Title IX Advisor, Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a student discipline defense attorney who can represent you as your advisor during a Title IX case in Utah. With his help, you can protect your rights and interests. Contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686 for the assistance you need when facing sexual misconduct allegations.
Utah colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations (in addition to hearings and appeals) include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- AmeriTech College Draper
- Argosy University Salt Lake City
- Brigham Young University Provo
- Broadview Entertainment Arts University
- Broadview University Layton
- Broadview University Orem
- Broadview University West Jordan
- DeVry University Utah
- Dixie State College of Utah
- Eagle Gate College Layton
- Eagle Gate College Murray
- Eagle Gate College Salt Lake City
- Fortis College Salt Lake City
- Independence University
- ITT Technical Institute Murray
- Latter day Saints Business College
- Neumont University
- Provo College American Fork
- Provo College Provo
- Salt Lake Community College
- Snow College
- Southern Utah University
- Stevens Henager College of Business Provo
- Stevens Henager College Logan
- Stevens Henager College Murray
- Stevens Henager College Ogden
- The Art Institute of Salt Lake City
- University of Phoenix Utah Campus
- University of Utah
- Utah State University
- Utah State University College of Eastern Utah
- Utah Valley University
- Weber State University
- Westminster College
It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your college or university is handled properly and that the accused student's or employee's interests are protected from as early as possible during the sexual misconduct investigative process. One major reason is because even at schools 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 Title IX 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. Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their school 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 and Title IX charges would not exist.
Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation for a decade, 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 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 sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Utah and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.