One of the charges that come with an accusation of sexual misconduct on campus in Washington is a violation of Title IX. Perhaps even worse, colleges are required to vigorously investigate and prosecute alleged Title IX violations, or risk losing their federal funding.
If you have been accused of sexual harassment or assault in violation of Title IX, you can expect your school to come down on you, hard. Having an attorney acting as your Title IX advisor can help protect your rights and interests.
Title IX Advisors and Your Right to Have One
If you have been accused of a Title IX violation in the state of Washington, you have a right to an advisor. While some people appoint a family or faculty member to this role, this is a major mistake. Having a lawyer has strong benefits:
- Lawyers know how to build and present their client's best case
- Attorneys are used to the adversarial nature of investigations and hearings
- Title IX investigation lawyers come to the table with a thorough understanding of the process and its implications
The Title IX Investigation Process
Every school and university in Washington has its own unique process for investigating and determining Title IX allegations. However, all of them use the same basic framework:
- A complaint initiates the process. The Title IX investigation process begins when someone else files a complaint with the school, alleging sexual misconduct in violation of the statute.
- The school's response. Typically, the school responds to the complaint by filing a no-contact order and other interim measures against the person being accused. This prohibits you from contacting the complainant in any way, shape, or form, and can even lead to housing or class assignments being changed. A ban from living on campus and even an "interim suspension" are some examples of other interim measures colleges and universities impose on a respondent while the investigation into the allegations takes place.
- The Title IX investigation. The school will either have an independent investigator or its Title IX officer investigate the details in the complaint. This typically ends with an interview with the person being accused of sexual misconduct. Most schools determine a respondent's responsibility through the hearing process. These schools use an "investigative" model. Some schools use the information obtained during the Title IX investigation to proceed to a hearing. These schools use a "hearing" model. A smaller number of schools yet use a combination of both.
- A hearing determines whether there was a violation. At colleges and universities that use a "hearing" model, the evidence gathering culminates in a hearing in front of a disciplinary panel. The precise process for this hearing and the makeup of the hearing body depend on the school.
- Sanctions, if there was a violation. If the panel determines that Title IX was violated, then it will sanction you. These penalties can run from a warning all the way to expulsion from school.
- Appealing the outcome of your case. You have a right to appeal a Title IX case. If you want to challenge the finding that there was a Title IX violation, you will need to point to some defect in the process. You can always limit your challenge to the sanction you have received, though.
Title IX Investigation Advisor for Washington: Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense attorney who can serve as your advisor if you have been accused of violating Title IX. If you or your student is facing a Title IX investigation or charges in Washington state, contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686 if you want to make it known to your institution that you are serious about your rights and that the sexual misconduct claims against you are groundless.
Washington 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:
- 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 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 Washington and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.