Facing Sexual Misconduct Allegations at CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

An accusation of sexual misconduct is serious business. You may think that just because you're a student you won't face any real disciplinary action. It's true that your school can't sentence you to jail time. However, it can assign sanctions that can have just as long-lasting repercussions. The minimum penalty you're likely to face is suspension. More probably, your school will expel you. Obviously, that can limit your career prospects.

Given just how much is at stake, it's important you find out all you can about how CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice treats these cases. You need to know the school's investigative procedures. You need to know what rights you're entitled to and how to claim them. Most importantly, though, you need to know how to get help. Because you want to be as prepared as you possibly can, but you also need to know you can't handle this situation alone.

Title IX Cases

The first thing you need to know is that CUNY, John Jay doesn't just have one sexual misconduct policy. It has two. Most allegations are dealt with under Title IX. That's a federal law passed in 1972 prohibiting sexual discrimination on college campuses. Here's how Title IX cases work:

  • Your school has a designated Title IX Coordinator. Anyone may report you for sexual misconduct, but only a complainant (accuser) or the Coordinator may sign an official complaint against you.
  • Once a complaint has been signed, the Coordinator will provide you with written notice of the charges. This should include the name of the complainant along with details of the allegation. It should also include a list of your rights, including the right to an advisor, who may be an attorney; the right to be presumed “not responsible”; and the right to review any evidence against you.
  • Next, the Coordinator will appoint an Investigator to look into the case. This person will meet separately with both you and the complainant. They will also collect any physical evidence and interview any relevant witnesses.
  • The Investigator will have up to 120 days to complete their investigation. After this, they must complete a written summary of their findings. Both you and the complainant have the right to review this document and suggest changes before it is forwarded to the Coordinator.
  • Once they've received the Investigative Report, the Coordinator will set a time and date for a live hearing. In addition, they will appoint one or more Decision-Makers to preside over the case.
  • At the hearing, you'll present evidence and call witnesses to testify on your behalf. The complainant will do the same. Both of you have the right to question each other and any witnesses against you. However, only advisors may actually ask the questions.
  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the Decision-Maker(s) decide whether they believe you are responsible or not responsible for a violation. In doing this, they use a legal standard known as “preponderance of evidence.” In simple terms, they must find you responsible if they believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense.
  • You have a right to appeal the hearing decision, as does the complainant. Both of you have a limited time frame in which to file this appeal, and you can only do so for very specific reasons, such as the discovery of new evidence or proof of procedural misconduct.

Non-Title IX Cases

Most sexual misconduct cases follow Title IX procedures but not all. In 2020, the Trump administration introduced new guidelines for following the law. These narrowed the definition of “discrimination” and limited schools' jurisdictional authority. In response, many colleges, including CUNY, John Jay, instituted new campus policies designed to deal with incidents Title IX no longer covered. These new policies include alternative procedures for dealing with allegations. There are some similarities to Title IX cases, but there are also some important differences.

  • As in Title IX cases, you are entitled to written notice of the charges against you. This should include details about the allegation, the name of the complainant, and a summary of your rights. In both kinds of cases, you have the right to choose an advisor, and this advisor may be an attorney.
  • In both types of cases, an Investigator collects evidence and interviews witnesses. Both you and the complainant have the right to suggest evidence and witnesses.
  • As with Title IX cases, in non-Title IX cases, the investigation must be completed within 120 days.
  • The Investigator must complete a full investigative report. This report must include a summary of the evidence and the Investigator's findings—based on “preponderance of evidence”—as to whether or not you are responsible for sexual misconduct.
  • You are not entitled to a hearing. The Investigator decides the case.
  • You may appeal the Investigator's findings, but again, only for certain very specific reasons: a procedural irregularity, new evidence, or a conflict of interest.

Obviously, the most significant difference between Title IX and non-Title IX cases is that the latter doesn't allow for a hearing. This means a single person decides whether or not you are responsible, and you must rely on them entirely to consider all the appropriate evidence and render a fair decision.

Joseph D. Lento, Sexual Misconduct Attorney

Whether you're facing Title IX or non-Title IX charges, you should know that you don't have the same rights as you would in a court of law. For example, you don't have to be found responsible “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Decision-Makers only have to be just over fifty percent sure you did it.

Everything is at stake, and the deck is stacked against you. You need an attorney, but not just any attorney. You need a Title IX attorney, someone who understands the law and who has experience dealing with both types of sexual misconduct cases.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney. He's a fierce litigator with years of experience in the courtroom. He specializes, though, in student sexual misconduct cases. He knows Title IX; he also knows how colleges and universities operate. Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of students just like you defend themselves from all types of charges, from online harassment and stalking to dating violence and rape. Whatever your charges, big or small, Joseph D. Lento is committed to making sure your school respects your rights and that you get the very best possible resolution to your case.

If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, don't wait to act. The school is already building its case. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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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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