Alleged victims of sexual assault on school campuses are allowed the option of pursuing resolution through a Title IX administrative complaint process or a criminal process through local law enforcement, or both. Although the criminal process route is rarely chosen, it's important for student respondents and alleged victims to understand the differences between these two distinct procedures. The consequences, methods, and practices exhibited in these systems vary, and entail separate components and thereafter, results.
Regardless of the process, an alleged victim chooses for resolution, it is important to review the specifics of your case with a Title IX attorney. For the purposes of this article, I will provide a general review of the key differences between the Title IX process and a criminal procedure:
Goals: The outcome of a criminal procedure is dictated by a judge or jury's verdict of a defendant's guilt or innocence. If found guilty, the goal of this procedure is to safeguard the public and to punish defendants who violate criminal law. In college settings, the priorities of school authorities include educating the public about misconduct, keeping each member of the campus community safe, and maintaining a safe environment. This is why preventative measures, like rearranged housing options, and no contact orders are almost always ordered in school complaints, but defendants are allowed to confront their accuser during criminal processes.
Investigations: A criminal investigation is conducted by police and a local law enforcement agency. These authorities have been professionally trained to investigate the sensitive and complex nature of sexual assault crimes. Investigations in schools, on the other hand, are conducted by individuals employed by the college or university. They too have been trained, but not as extensively as official crime investigators.
Privacy: Criminal trials are open to the public. People can even sit in on a case if they wish to. Disciplinary proceedings are kept as private as possible. The names of the parties and witnesses involved are kept confidential throughout the entire process unless a school considers it necessary to reveal an identity for the safety of the campus community.
The standard of evidence: In criminal trials, the standard known as “beyond a reasonable doubt” is applied to criminal matters. This means that the prosecution is responsible for proving that a violation of criminal law occurred beyond a reasonable doubt, based on the evidence. A lesser standard, known as the “preponderance of evidence” is often applied to Title IX procedures. This means that it must be proven that a student respondent more likely than not committed a violation for a “responsible” determination.
Since the standards for pursuing and completing criminal investigations are vastly different from those used in Title IX investigations, the termination of a criminal investigation without an arrest, charge, or conviction will not affect the Title IX resolution process.
Title IX Attorney Helping Clients Nationwide
A student respondent may be forced to undergo one of these processes or both. The complexities of both of these systems require the help of a skilled Title IX attorney. Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience helping students nationwide overcome Title IX actions, he can do the same for you. Contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.